Chiefs’ Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes comments on off-field issues

Chiefs’ Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes comments on off-field issues

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have had several players become entangled in legal and social troubles since they won Super Bowl LVIII in February.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice is facing eight felonies and several lawsuits for millions of dollars in connection with a multi-vehicle crash in Dallas, Texas in April. Rice is also being investigated for an alleged assault on a photographer in Texas who has since signed an affidavit signaling he wants to drop the case.

Offensive linemen Wanya Morris and Chukwuebuka Godrick were arrested for in Johnson County, Kansas, and charged with a misdemeanor of first-degree possession of marijuana/THC.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he keeps open communication with all three players throughout their legal processes.

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“Obviously, stay in touch with them and communicate before they leave, make sure they take care of business,” Reid said. “But sometimes things happen. And you got to work through that.”

“Trying to do whatever we can to teach him how to learn from his mistakes,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said about Rice. “Obviously, that was a big mistake. We get to learn from it. Make sure it doesn’t happen again and try to do whatever you can to be the best person you can be in society. Not only for yourself but for the people around you.

“And I think he is doing that. But right now we’re just gonna keep trying to do whatever we can to get him on the right path so that he can be a great football player obviously, but we want him to be a great person too.”

All three players practiced on Wednesday. While Rice is expected to be suspended for multiple games to start the season, Reid is putting more on his plate in the offense so he can keep progressing.

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“He worked through some of the drops, so we’re good with that,” Reid said. “He’s got that feel of where things can catch it quick and where you have a little bit more time. I think the place that he’ll continue to work on would be just in space. He has a nice feel for it, but the more reps you get with that, the better you get with it. So the area that he plays in, that becomes important.”

Wide receiver Xavier Worthy had his car stolen last week as well and he did not practice with a hamstring injury on Wednesday.

Kicker Harrison Butker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College saw him take aim at President Joe Biden, women in the workforce and the LGBTQ+ community in a 20-minute speech that sparked emotion from millions on social media.

The speeches helped Butker’s merchandise rise to the top in the NFL shop for Chiefs merch. He also received support from the women of the Hunt family who own the Chiefs and defensive tackle Chris Jones.

The founding sisters of Benedictine, Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica denounced Butker’s comments and a petition began for the Chiefs to release Butker that has garnered more than 220,000 signatures.

The NFL released a statement through Jonathan Beane, their Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer but commissioner Roger Goodell spoke on Wednesday about Butker.

“We have over 3,000 players. We have executives around the league. They have diversity of opinions and thoughts just like America does. That’s something we treasure,” he said before referring back to Beane’s statement.

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.

Reid reiterated Goodell’s points that allowing players to voice their opinions makes America great.

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“I didn’t talk to him about this, didn’t think we needed to,” he said. “We’re a microcosm of life, everybody from different areas, different religions, different races. We all get along we all respect each other’s opinions and not necessarily do we go by those but, you know, we respect everybody to have a voice. It’s a great thing about America man.

Reid still expects Butker to make the trip to the White House with the Chiefs to celebrate their Super Bowl. That trip is scheduled for the end of the month.

Reid, 66, also pointed out that no women in the Chiefs organization have spoken to him about the speech.

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

Mahomes has known Butker since they both joined the team as rookies in 2017. He defended Butker’s character by saying that he is a good person that he sees all the time. Butker has been crucial to the Chiefs’ recent success as one of their top kickers in franchise history.

“I judge him by the character that he shows every single day, and that’s a good person as someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family, wants to make a good impact in society.

“When you’re in the locker room, there’s a lot of people from a lot of different areas of life, and they have a lot of different views on everything. And we’re not always going to agree and 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. And then that might not be the same values as I have, but at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character that he shows every single day. That’s a great person and we’ll continue to move along and try to help build each other up to make ourselves better every single day. But at the end of the day, we’re going to come together as a team, and I think that’ll help out as well as eliminating those distractions outside the building as well.”

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Mahomes said he’s seen “a good bit” of Butker’s speech through social media and admits that some clips can be taken out of context. He wouldn’t say which parts of Butker’s speech he disagreed with.

“There’s just certain values that you have that some people emphasize more than others and they’re just certain things that I didn’t necessarily agree with, but at the same time, I’m not going to judge him by that,” he said. “I judge him by the way he acts every single day and I’m not gonna get into the full details of the entire speech, but at the same time, I know what kind of person he is, and I’m gonna make sure that I look at that first and then let the other stuff kind of handle itself.”

Butker’s comments came on a Saturday afternoon before Mahomes, co-owner of women’s professional soccer team Kansas City Current, spent his TIME100 Gala toast boosting women’s sports as a “new era in sports”.

The gala was shot in advance before it aired and Mahomes chuckled at that coincidence of “bad timing” but drove the point home that the locker room is a safe space for players to have discussions about their views on society.

“I think 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 said. “So even though they’re very vast, I guess, differences as far as those speeches happen at the same time, I mean, you are able to talk to guys and get knowledge. You make your own decisions at the end of the day, and I think 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.

“It gets a little divisive sometimes 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 day even though you might not agree with exactly the same things.”

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The boosting of America’s First Amendment was a common spot for Reid and Mahomes in their defense of Butker.

“They understand how things work,” he said. “Everybody’s got their own opinion. And that’s what’s so great about this country, you can share those things, and you work through it. And that’s what that’s what guys do.”

With plenty of drama and controversy surrounding the back-to-back Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs are just satisfied getting back to being focused on their quest for a third straight ring.

“It’s always good to have people here, have people in Kansas City, practicing like you said, competing,” Mahomes said. “And then it’s just about being smart as we can when we’re not in the building. And I think the guys understand, we have to step up as a team and an organization in that in that way. But we have to go out there and prove that in order for other people to believe that as well.”

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