Patrick Mahomes calls Harrison Butker ‘a great person.’ Andy Reid says kicker ‘has his opinions’

More than a week after making headlines with his controversial commencement address at Benedictine College, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker attended his team’s first day of voluntary workouts.

Butker did not speak with reporters Wednesday, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid did — and not surprisingly, they were asked about the May 11 speech in which Butker expressed radical views on gender roles and took shots at abortion, President Biden and Pride month while addressing the 485 students graduating from the private Catholic college in Atchison, Kan.

“There’s certain things that he said that I don’t necessarily agree with, but I understand the person that he is and he’s trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction,” Mahomes said. “And that might not be the same values I have, but at the same time I’m going to judge him by the character that he shows every single day and that’s a great person.”

Reid said: “I talk to Harrison all the time. I didn’t talk to him about this. I didn’t think we needed to. We’re a microcosm of life here. Everybody’s from different areas, different religions, different races. And so we all get along. We all respect each other’s opinions.”

Also, as the NFL concluded its spring meetings Wednesday in Nashville, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to a question about Butker’s comments by saying: “We have over 3,000 players. We have executives around the league that have a diversity of opinions and thoughts, just like America does. I think that is something that we treasure, and that’s part of, I think, ultimately what makes us as a society better.”

Last week, Jonathan Beane, the NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, issued a statement saying that “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

During his commencement address, Butker told the male graduates to “be unapologetic in your masculinity” and told the female graduates that he “would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

Butker then told those women that “my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. … It cannot be overstated that all my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Reid was asked Wednesday what he would tell women on staff if they came to him with concerns over what Butker said in his speech.

“That hasn’t happened,” Reid said. “I don’t think he was speaking ill to women. But he has his opinions and we all respect that. I let you guys in this room, and you all have a lot of opinions that I don’t like.”

Butker, Reid and Mahomes have all been members of a Chiefs team that has taken part in four of the last five Super Bowls and won three, including the last two. Mahomes said he could vouch for Butker’s character.

“I know Harrison. I’ve known him for seven years and I judge him by the character that he shows every single day, and that’s a good person,” Mahomes said. “That’s someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family and wants to make a good impact in society.”

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