Roger Goodell respects Harrison Butker’s free expression. Where was that for Colin Kaepernick?

During the most recent owners meetings on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s comments during a commencement speech at Benedictine College, a liberal arts institution in Atchison, Kansas. This is the same college that once forced out gay basketball player Jallen Messersmith to remove a rainbow flag from his dorm room window.

Here was Goodell’s response, via Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports:

During his speech, Butker made some incendiary comments about Covid and President Biden, and then got around to what he perceives as a woman’s ultimate and rightful place: the kitchen.

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you. Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.

“I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother. I’m on this stage today, able to be the man that I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation.

“I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all. Homemaker.”

Then, Butker got to what he termed the dangers of the “church of nice.”

“The world around us says that we should keep our beliefs to ourselves whenever they go against the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Butker said. “We fear speaking truth, because now, unfortunately, truth is in the minority.”

Then, on to Pride Month, which takes place in June.

“Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, “but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the holy ghost to glorify him.”

Back in 2016, when Goodell was asked about Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem during games — a decision that eventually had him blackballed from the NFL, whether the NFL chooses to admit it or not — Goodell had this to say:

Well, my personal thoughts are… I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society. We live in an imperfect society. On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that. I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement, and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.

These are all important things for us, and that moment is a very important moment. So, I don’t necessarily agree with what he is doing. We encourage our players to be respectful in that time and I like to think of it as a moment where we can unite as a country. And that’s what we need more, and that’s what I think football does – it unites our country. So I would like to see us focusing on our similarities and trying to bring people together.

Players have a platform, and it’s his right to do that. We encourage them to be respectful and it’s important for them to do that.

I think it’s important if they see things they want to change in society, and clearly we have things that can get better in society, and we should get better. But we have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great.

Are we to infer from the differences in response that Goodell agrees with Butker’s views more than he agreed with Kaepernick’s? It’s hard to tell.

In any event, a bit more consistency would be a good thing. One might wonder where Goodell’s grace for Kaepernick’s opinions were… and one might already know.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire