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Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce responds to Harrison Butker's commencement address

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Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce weighed in on his teammate Harrison Butker's controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College earlier this month.

Speaking on the Friday episode of his "New Heights" podcast with brother Jason Kelce, the tight end said he does not agree with "just about any" of Butker's views but cherishes him as a teammate.

"He's treated family 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 Saint Benedict's commencement speech, those are his," Kelce said. "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."

Butker made waves in his address to graduates at Benedictine College when he suggested women should be homemakers, railed against LGBTQ+ Pride Month and took at President Joe Biden and abortion. His comments sparked widespread backlash and the NFL distanced itself from the kicker's comments. 

"Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity," Jonathan Beane, the NFL's senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer told CBS News in a statement. "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."

While people online condemned his words, his jersey became one of the top-selling after the graduation.

Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up prior to Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11, 2024, in Las Vegas.
Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs made waves with a commencement address at Benedictine College. Perry Knotts/Getty Images

Travis Kelce's comments echoed those of his chief teammate and three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mahomes said that while he doesn't agree with all the beliefs espoused by 28-year-old Butker, the Chiefs quarterback nevertheless respects his teammate's right to make them be known.

"I've known Harrison for seven years. I judge him by the character he shows every single day," Mahomes said after one of the Chiefs' voluntary practices in Kansas City, Missouri. "We're not always going to agree, and there are certain things he said that I don't necessarily agree with. But I know the person he is and he's doing what he can to lead people in the right direction."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said that while he "talks to Harrison all the time," he didn't believe he needed to discuss the commencement address with his kicker when the team reconvened in Kansas City.

"We're a microcosm of life here," Reid said. "We're from some different areas. Different religions. Different races. But we get along. We all respect each others' opinions, and not necessarily do we go by those, but we respect everyone to have a voice."

During Friday's podcast, Jason Kelce added: "There's always going to be opinions that everybody shares that you're going to disagree with.

"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."

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