Patrick Mahomes defends teammate Harrison Butker amid backlash for controversial speech

ByCNN CNNWire logo
Friday, May 24, 2024
Mahomes defends teammate Harrison Butker after controversial speech
Mahomes said Butker is a "good person" despite "not necessarily agreeing" with his controversial comments on women's roles and other issues that he made in an address to a small Catholic school in Kansas.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes defended teammate Harrison Butker on Wednesday following his controversial commencement speech earlier this month, in which he said that a woman's accomplishments in the home are more valuable than any academic or professional goals and called Pride Month a "deadly sin," among other things.

The three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mahomes told reporters that Butker is a "good person" despite "not necessarily agreeing" with his comments, which were made in an address to graduates at Benedictine College, a small Catholic school in Atchison, Kansas.

"I've known him for seven years," the two-time NFL MVP said after the team's organized team activities (OTA's). "I judge him by the character that he shows every single day ... that's someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family and wants to make a good impact in society."

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker delivers controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker delivered a controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College, which is now facing backlash.

Mahomes said that in a locker room, he encounters people from different backgrounds, with different views.

"We're not always going to agree, there are 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," he said.

Big names distance themselves from speech

In his speech, Butker bemoaned diversity and equity initiatives to about 485 male and female graduates, as well as suggesting that women find more fulfillment through getting married and having children than by pursuing careers - directly after quoting a song byTaylor Swift.

Mahomes, 28, reiterated that he didn't "necessarily agree" with what was said when asked what part of Butker's speech he disagreed with.

"I'm not going to judge him by that, I judge him by the way he acts every single day. I'm not going to get into the full details of the entire speech," Mahomes added. "At the same time, I know what type of person he is and I'm going to make sure I look at that first and let the other stuff handle itself."

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he talks to Butker "all the time" but did not address the speech with him.

"We're a microcosm of life here," Reid said. "Everybody is from different areas, different religions, different races and we all get along. We all respect each other's opinions, and not necessarily do we go by those but we respect everybody to have a voice.

Reid added that he didn't think "he was speaking ill to women. He has his opinions, and we all respect that."

After the conclusion of the National Football League's (NFL) Spring League Meeting in Nashville, league commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Butker's comments at his usual post-meeting press conference Wednesday.

"We have over 3,000 players. We have executives around the league.They have diversity of opinions and thoughts just like America does," Goodell said "I think that's something that we treasure and that's part of, I think, ultimately what makes us as a society better."

The NFL had previously distanced itself from the speech, saying Butker's comments don't reflect the views of the league.

"Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization," said senior vice president Jonathan Beane, the league's chief diversity and inclusion officer. "The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger."

The 28-year-old Butker, who is entering his eighth season in the league, did not address the media on Wednesday.

The-CNN-Wire & 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.