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Chiefs’ Mahomes: Butker entitled to his beliefs, even though the QB doesn’t always agree with him

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes said Wednesday that while he doesn’t agree with all the beliefs espoused by kicker Harrison Butker during a recent commencement address, the Chiefs quarterback nevertheless respects his teammate’s right to make them be known.

Butker delivered what has become a polarizing speech May 11 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where the three-time Super Bowl champ said most women receiving degrees were probably more excited about getting married and having kids, and that some Catholic leaders were “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America.”

Butker also assailed Pride month, an important time for the LGBTQ+ community, and President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion.

“I’ve known Harrison for seven years. I judge him by the character he shows every single day,” Mahomes said after one of the Chiefs’ voluntary practices in Kansas City, Missouri. “We’re not always going to agree, and there are certain things he said that I don’t necessarily agree with. But I know the person he is and he’s doing what he can to lead people in the right direction.”

Butker’s comments were delivered the same week Mahomes offered a toast to the future of women in sports at the TIME100 Gala: “I’d like to raise a glass to a new era in sports, an era when the women’s game is finally getting the attention it deserves.”

“It was pretty bad timing, I guess you would say. I shot that a couple weeks before,” Mahomes said of the film spot. “That’s what makes this country so great is you’re able to get as much knowledge as you can and make your own decisions.”

But, Mahomes admitted, “it gets a little divisive sometimes when you get to social media and outside the (practice) building.”

Earlier in the day, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell declined to expand on the NFL’s statement distancing the league from Butker’s comments. The league said that the comments and “views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

“We have over 3,000 players,” Goodell said as the NFL concluded its spring meetings in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We have executives around the league that have a diversity of opinions and thoughts, just like America does. I think that is something that we treasure, and that’s part of, I think, ultimately what makes us as a society better.”

Still, the commencement address from the 28-year-old Butker in which he said that women “have had the most diabolical lies told to you” has become a flashpoint for a number of discussions, including women in the workplace.

“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,” Butker said. “I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

Butker said his wife embraced “one of the most important titles of all. Homemaker.“

Butker also criticized as disparaging to the Catholic Church an The Associated Press article highlighting a conservative shift in some parts of the church; he referred to a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it” in an oblique reference to Pride month; and he took aim at Biden’s policies, including his condemnation of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and advocacy for abortion rights — a key campaign issue in the 2024 presidential race.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after Wednesday’s practice that while he “talks to Harrison all the time,” he didn’t believe he needed to discuss the commencement address with his kicker when the team reconvened in Kansas City.

“We’re a microcosm of life here,” Reid said. “We’re from some different areas. Different religions. Different races. But we get along. We all respect each others’ opinions, and not necessarily do we go by those, but we respect everyone to have a voice.”

Mahomes doesn’t believe Butker’s viewpoints will become a divisive issue in the locker room, either, as the Chiefs embark on their quest for a record-setting third consecutive Super Bowl title.

“There are certain values that some people emphasize more than others. There are certain things I don’t necessarily agree with,” Mahomes said. “I know what kind of person he is. I’m going to look at that first.”

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Skretta reported from Indianapolis.

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This story has been corrected to show that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes called Harrison Butker’s recent commencement address “divisive,” not “decisive.”

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

By DAVE SKRETTA and TERESA WALKER
AP Sports Writer

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