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Travis Kelce breaks silence on Harrison Butker's controversial commencement speech

The Kansas City Chiefs tight end spoke out on the matter for the first time during a podcast episode with his brother, Jason.
Travis Kelce is pictured next to Harrison Butker.
Posted at 7:15 PM, May 24, 2024

Travis Kelce is weighing in on the controversial comments his Kansas City Chiefs teammate, Harrison Butker, made at a commencement speech earlier this month.

While addressing Benedictine College graduates on May 11, Butker said the female students had been told "the most diabolical lives" about putting career choices over the roles of mothers and wives. He also described Pride Month as a "deadly sin" and shared other contentious viewpoints on abortion, birth control, masculinity and IVF.

This week, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes defended Butker as "good person" but expressed he didn't "necessarily agree" with the kicker's comments.

And Kelce echoed the sentiment on the latest episode of "New Heights," the podcast the tight end hosts with his brother, former Phildelphia Eagles center Jason.

"I think Pat said it best where he is every bit of a great person and a great teammate," Kelce said. "He's treated friends and family that I've introduced to him with nothing but respect and kindness, and that's how he treats everyone.

"When it comes down to his views and what he said at the Saint Benedict's commencement speech, those are his," Kelce continued. "I can't say I agree with the majority of it or just about any of it outside of just him loving his family and his kids. And I don't think that I should judge him by his views, especially his religious views, of how to go about life. That's just not who I am."

From left, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid, and kicker Harrison Butker.

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Kelce continued by saying he's grateful for his "beautiful" upbringing in Cleveland Heights that shaped his outlook on the world, as he was surrounded by "different social classes, different religions, different races and ethnicities."

"It showed me a broad spectrum, just a broad view of a lot of different walks of life," Kelce said. "And I appreciated every single one of those people for different reasons, and I never once had to feel like I needed to judge them, based off of their beliefs."

The Chiefs star said both his mother and father made his home what it was, both contributed to being "homemakers" and "providers" while being present "every single day of my life." He thanked his parents for his childhood but said although it was great for him, "I don't think everyone should do it the way" that they did.

Jason Kelce said it was good for the public to hear another teammate of Butker's speak on his behalf because they know the kicker more personally. He also pointed to the particular college Butker was at for the speech, saying his words may have aligned more with the school than with the general public.

"There's always going to be opinions that everybody shares that you're going to disagree with," the retired star said. "And make no mistake about it, a lot of the things he said in his commencement speech are not things that I align myself with. But he's giving a commencement speech at a Catholic university, and, shocker, it ended up being a very religious and Catholic speech."

"To me, I can listen to somebody talk and take great value in it, like when he's talking about the importance of family and the importance that a great mother can make, while also acknowledging that not everybody has to be a homemaker if that's not what they want to do in life."

Earlier this week, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid also fielded questions about his player's speech, saying the situation can be a learning moment.

"We're a microcosm of life here," he said. "Everybody is from different areas, different religions, different races. And so we all get along, we all respect each other's opinions. Not necessarily do we go by those, but we respect everyone to have a voice. That's America. My wish is that everybody could follow that."

The NFL took a different stance when it commented on the mater, distancing itself from the Chiefs player by saying his statements didn't align with the league's views.

"Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity," NFL senior vice president Jonathan Beane said in a statement to People. "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."

Butker joined the Chiefs in 2017 after being signed off the Carolina Panthers practice squad. He enters his eighth season having won three Super Bowls with Kansas City.

Next Friday, the Chiefs will head back to the White House to celebrate their 2024 Super Bowl win. This is their second straight visit.