Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes defended his teammate Harrison Butker following Butker’s commencement speech earlier this month. Butker, the Chiefs’ kicker, made waves with comments that placed higher value on women’s roles in the home over their professional achievements and criticized Pride Month as a “deadly sin.”

Mahomes, a three-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, expressed his support for Butker despite disagreeing with his remarks. Speaking to reporters after the team’s organized team activities (OTAs), Mahomes described Butker as a “good person.”

“I’ve known him for seven years, Mahomes said. “I judge him by the character that he shows every single day … that’s someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family and wants to make a good impact in society.

Butker’s speech, delivered at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, to about 485 graduates, drew significant backlash for criticizing diversity and equity initiatives and suggesting that women find more fulfillment through marriage and motherhood than through careers.

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“We’re not always going to agree, Mahomes said. “There are 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.”

Mahomes reiterated his disagreement with parts of Butker’s speech but refused to delve into specifics. “I’m not going to judge him by that; I judge him by the way he acts every single day. I’m not going to get into the full details of the entire speech, Mahomes added. “At the same time, I know what type of person he is, and I’m going to make sure I look at that first and let the other stuff handle itself.”

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid commented: “We’re a microcosm of life here. Everybody is from different areas, different religions, different races, and 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.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, “We have over 3,000 players. We have executives around the league. They have diversity of opinions and thoughts just like America does, addressing the media after the league’s Spring Meeting in Nashville.

The NFL distanced itself from Butker’s comments, with Senior Vice President Jonathan Beane stating that Butker’s views do not reflect the league’s values. “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization, Beane said.

Butker, entering his eighth season with the Chiefs, did not address the media on Wednesday. The fallout from his speech continues to spark debate, highlighting the ongoing clash of personal beliefs and public perception in professional sports.

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