Travis Kelce ‘Can’t Agree With Majority’ of Harrison Butker’s Sexist Grad Speech

A week and a half after Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker kicked up a storm by suggesting that women just want to get married and have babies while rolling out antisemitic tropes during a Benedictine College commencement speech, his teammate Travis Kelce is playing defense … somewhat. On the New Heights podcast he hosts with his brother, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, Travis described Butker, whom he “cherish[es] as a teammate,” as likable enough.

“He is every bit of a great person and a great teammate,” Travis said. “He’s treated friends 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 the St. Benedict’s [sic] commencement speech, those are his. I can’t say I agree with the majority of it or just about any of it outside of 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.”

Speaking for himself, Kelce said that he grew up exposed to a diversity of people, coming from different religious and ethnic backgrounds. He doesn’t judge people based on their beliefs, he said.

Jason got Travis back on track talking about how Butker gave a speech at a Catholic university and, “shocker,” he said, “it ended up being a very religious and Catholic speech.” Jason said that he appreciated Butker’s comments about family and “the difference a great mother can make” but he said he could also listen to it and say he didn’t agree with everything.

“I get what the fuss is about because I know that certain of these groups have been persecuted against for a long period in this country, and women in particular,” Jason said. “My wife, she was a little bit frustrated with some of the comments. Initially I said, ‘Listen, you’re gonna have to go back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich. Listen, it’s a game right now.'” Travis laughed, took his hat off, and leaned forward to take a moment while they both laughed. “You’re ridiculous,” Travis said.

The brothers then agreed that neither of them are on teams where they agree with everyone. “You put your differences aside to find one goal in common,” Travis said. “That’s the beauty of team sports. That’s the beauty of the NFL.” He then echoed Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who said that he judges Butker on “the character” he shows on the field.

“My views are never going to be the same as the man next to me,” Travis said.

Neither brother roundly condemned Butker’s sexist or antisemitic statements, and Travis didn’t address how the kicker quoted his girlfriend, Taylor Swift. The discussion ended with an it-is-what-it-is agreement between the brothers, who were eager to talk about football again.

In his speech, Butker addressed female graduates by saying, “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.” He also claimed, “Congress just passed a bill where stating something as basic as the Biblical teaching of who killed Jesus could land you in jail,” which has antisemitic overtones.

A few days after Butker’s speech, Eddie Vedder made fun of him at a Pearl Jam concert. “The irony was that the football player — kicker … You see, the kicker doesn’t have the pads because he doesn’t tackle anybody or get tackled,” the singer said. “But he was telling men, ‘Don’t forget to puff up your chest and be more masculine. Don’t lose your masculinity.’ The irony was that when he was saying that, he looked like such a pussy.”

Jon Stewart also dedicated a portion of his Daily Show opening monologue to Butker and the media’s reaction to it. “Victimhood is the entire brand [of conservative media],” he said.

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