Travis Kelce reacts to teammate Harrison Butker’s controversial speech

Travis Kelce is giving his take on Kansas City Chiefs teammate Harrison Butker’s controversial commencement speech earlier this month at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Kelce opened up about the matter, echoing he shares the same sentiment as their most high-profile teammate, quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who spoke publicly about the speech earlier this week.

“I cherish him as a teammate. I think Pat said it best where he is every bit of a great person and a great teammate,” Kelce said on the May 24 episode of his "New Heights" podcast that he hosts with his brother, Jason Kelce.

“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. 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.”

Travis Kelce. Harrison Butker. (Getty Images)
Travis Kelce. Harrison Butker. (Getty Images)

Kelce then continued, saying his childhood in Ohio influenced how he views others.

“I grew up in a beautiful upbringing of different social classes, different religions, different races and ethnicities, in Cleveland Heights, and that’s why I love Cleveland Heights for what it was,” he said.

“It showed me a broad spectrum, just a broad view of a lot of different walks of life. 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.”

He added both of his parents, Donna and Ed Kelce, provided for the family home.

“Both my mother and my father made home what it was,” the star NFL tight end continued. “They were homemakers and they were providers and they were unbelievable at being present every single day in my life. That was a beautiful upbringing for me. I don't think everyone should do it the way that my parents did, but I certainly, sure as hell, thank my parents and love my parents for being able to provide and making sure that home was what it was because I'm not the same person without both of them being who they were in my life.”

Jason Kelce said he appreciates hearing from people who really know the person at the center of the story, while pointing out Butker delivered his speech in a religious environment.

“There’s always going to be opinions that everybody shares that you’re going to disagree with,” he 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 acknowledge that not everybody has to be a homemaker if that’s not what they want to do in life.”

A few days before the brothers' podcast episode, Mahomes became the first Chiefs player to chime in on the controversy, which has generated a lot of conversation and prompted severe backlash.

“When you’re in the locker room, there’s a lot of people from a lot of different areas of life,” the three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback told reporters at the Chiefs’ training complex in Kansas City on May 22.

“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 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 that might not be the same values as I have,” he added. “But at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character that he shows every single day and 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.”

Harrison Butker (Benedictine College / YouTube)
Harrison Butker (Benedictine College / YouTube)

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid also amplified the point not everyone has the same point of view.

“I talk to Harrison all the time. I didn’t talk to him about this. I didn’t think we needed to,” he said during a press conference. “We’re a microcosm of life, everybody’s 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 we respect everybody to have a voice. That’s the great thing about America.”

In his address, Butker spoke out against birth control and IVF. He also seemingly made a dig at Pride Month, which begins June 1 and celebrates members of the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, Butker openly promoted his belief that women are most excited about motherhood and being in the home.

Butker’s speech has been heavily scrutinized, with the NFL saying his comments were “not those of the NFL as an organization.” The speech also drew criticism from a group of nuns associated with Benedictine College. Even the Los Angeles Chargers, who are one of the Chiefs’ rivals in the AFC West, trolled Butker in the team’s hype video promoting their 2024 schedule.

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