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In a controversial column for The Kansas City Star, guest writer Peter Hamm criticized Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker for his commencement speech at Benedictine College. Hamm took issue with Butker’s comments praising his wife for embracing her role as a homemaker and primary educator to their children, implying that Butker’s wife gave up her dream of having a career. Hamm called for Butker to be replaced by a female kicker, citing the success of previous female kickers in college football and suggesting University of Manitoba kicker Maya Turner as a potential candidate.

Hamm pointed out the accomplishments of female kickers like Liz Heaston, Ashley Martin, Katie Hnida, and Sarah Fuller, who have all made strides in the male-dominated field of football. He encouraged the Chiefs to consider Turner, who has shown promise as a kicker for the University of Manitoba Bisons in Canada’s U Sports league. While acknowledging that Turner may not be as skilled as Butker currently, Hamm argued that she has the potential to improve and compete at the NFL level in the future.

Despite Butker’s impressive performance during the 2023 season, including a high field goal success rate and key plays in Super Bowl games, Hamm dismissed these achievements in favor of calling for his replacement with a female kicker. He suggested that the Chiefs could make a statement by signing a woman to take Butker’s place, highlighting the talent pool available in the National Women’s Soccer League as a potential source of skilled female kickers. Hamm’s column sparked debate over whether Butker’s personal beliefs should impact his professional career, and whether introducing more diversity into the NFL could benefit the league.

Critics of Hamm’s column argued that Butker’s on-field performance and contributions to the Chiefs should be the primary factors in determining his future with the team, rather than his personal beliefs or comments made in a commencement speech. Supporters of Butker emphasized his consistency as a kicker and his role in the Chiefs’ success, suggesting that he should not be penalized for expressing traditional values regarding his family and his wife’s decision to prioritize her role as a homemaker. The discussion surrounding Butker’s future with the team and the potential for female kickers to break into the NFL underscored broader conversations about gender equality and representation in professional sports.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to replace Butker with a female kicker will likely come down to the Chiefs’ coaching staff and management, who must weigh factors such as talent, performance, and team dynamics. While Hamm’s column sparked controversy and raised important questions about diversity and inclusion in football, the outcome of this debate will have implications for the future of women in professional sports and the continued evolution of the NFL as a progressive and equitable league. As the conversation continues, it remains to be seen how the Chiefs and other teams will address the issue of gender diversity in traditionally male-dominated positions like kicking in professional football.

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