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Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid Defend Character and Freedoms of Kicker Harrison Butker

Harrison Butker
Left: Patrick Mahomes (screengrab via YouTube / @Kansas City Chiefs); Center: Harrison Butker (screengrab via YouTube / @Benedictine College); Right: Andy Reid (screengrab via YouTube / @Kansas City Chiefs)

As the Kansas City Chiefs gathered for off-season activities this week, quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid faced questions about kicker Harrison Butker’s recent polarizing commencement speech.

During a press conference on Wednesday (May 22), Mahomes defended Butker’s character despite not necessarily agreeing with all his statements. Both Mahomes and Reid said America is a great country because everyone has a right to their own opinions.

In Butker’s May 11 speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, he told graduates that women should prioritize homemaking. The outspoken Catholic also railed against hot-button issues such as Pride Month and President Biden’s support of abortion.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Judges Teammate by His ‘Character’

Mahomes, a three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time NFL MVP, told reporters he’s known Butker for seven years and judges him “by the character he shows every single day. And that’s a good person.”

Mahomes and Butker, both 28, won’t always agree and might not have “the same values,” according to the QB. “And there are certain things he said that I don’t necessarily agree with,” added Mahomes. “But I understand the person that he is, and he is trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction.”

Mahomes, an outspoken Christian, characterized Butker as someone who “cares about the people around him, cares about his family, and wants to make a good impact in society.” The team hopes to move beyond off-the-field “distractions” like the Butker controversy, said the QB, so it can focus on defending its latest Super Bowl championship.

The timing of the controversy was admittedly “pretty bad,” according to Mahomes, who recently presented a toast to women athletes at the Time100 Gala. That event was filmed in April but aired on May 12, the day after Butker’s commencement address.

Some topics become “a little divisive sometimes, when you get to social media and outside the [team] building,” Mahomes admitted. But he said America is a great country because “you’re able to get as much knowledge as you can and make your own decisions.”

Coach Andy Reid: Harrison Butker Has His ‘Own Opinions’

When reporters asked Andy Reid about his kicker’s comments, the coach refuted the notion that Butker was “speaking ill to women.” A sports team is a “microcosm of life,” said Reid, with people from “different areas, different religions, different races.”

The Chiefs strive to respect people’s voices and individual opinions, Reid said. “My wish is that everybody could kind of follow that,” he added.