Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid and Quarterback Patrick Mahomes Defend Butker’s Right To Free Speech

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid have finally waded into the media maelstrom surrounding Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s faith-based commencement speech at a Catholic college earlier this month. Both Mahomes and Reid defended Butker and said they fully supported the player’s right to freely express his opinions.

During his 20-minute address at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, the conservative Catholic kicker urged female graduates to embrace their vocation as a homemaker, outraging feminists and leftists. Butker also ruffled some feathers when he slammed Catholic leaders for “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America.” Further inflaming the LGBTQ crowd, he also encouraged graduates to have Catholic pride— “not the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.”

Since his May 11 commencement speech, Butker has seen his words get distorted in the media and has faced calls for his dismissal from the team.  The NFL put out a weak statement distancing itself from the player, and reiterating its “commitment to inclusion.”

The official X account of the city of Kansas City even went so far as to partially doxx Butker, prompting Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey to launch an investigation into the Mayor’s office.

During an off-season press conference Wednesday, Mahomes said he may not always agree with Butker, but stressed that his teammate is a man of good character.

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

He added: “When you’re in the locker room, there’s a lot of different people from a lot of different areas and they have a lot of different views on everything. We’re not always going to agree.”

Mahomes told reporters that he might have a difference of opinion on some of the things Butker said during the specch, but at the end of the day, he judged his teammate by his character.

“There’s certain things 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.  “It may not be the same values that I have, but at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character he shows every single day and that’s a great person.”

When pressed on what parts of the speech he disagreed with, Mahomes demurred. “I’m not going to get into the full details of the entire speech, but at the same time, I know what kind of person he is, and I look at that first and let the other stuff handle itself,” he replied.

“What makes the locker room so cool is you’re able to have those discussions and become better and make those decisions for yourself,” he added. “You get to talk to guys and get knowledge and you make your own decisions at the end of the day. That’s what makes this country so great is that you’re able to get as much knowledge as you can, and then you make your own decisions.”

He added: “It gets a little divisive at times when you get to social media and you get to outside the building. But in the building, you can have those healthy discussions and still be friends at the end of the day, even though you might not agree with the same things.”

Coach Reid said he hadn’t spoken to Butker about the speech and that the Chiefs hadn’t felt the need to do so. The organization has not released a statement regarding the Butker bruhaha.

Reid also defended Butker, quickly shutting down a reporter who asked about what he was going to do about the kicker “speaking ill of woman.”

“Yeah, that hasn’t happened,” Reid replied. “I don’t think he was speaking ill of women, but he has his opinions and we all respect that.”

Reid added: “I let you guys into this room and you have a lot of opinions that I don’t like.”

When asked how the team would move on from the controversy, the coach said “the guys are good with that. They understand. They understand how things work and everybody’s got their own opinion, and that’s what’s so great about this country. You can share those things and you can work through it. That’s what guys do.”

Last Thursday, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City–Saint Joseph  issued a statement voicing support for Butker and his “right to share his faith and express his opinions,” and over the weekend priests in the diocese read the statement during their Pentecost homilies.

“The First Amendment protects our right to free speech and the free exercise of religion, which is what we’re fighting so hard to protect,” wrote Mo. AG Bailey on X Wednesday. “It’s a great thing about America.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

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