Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid cite freedom of speech in defense of Harrison Butker: 'Great thing about America'

For the first time since Harrison Butker made his faith-based commencement speech, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid spoke about what they thought of the speech. 

Both Mahomes and Reid invoked freedom of speech in the United States during their answers. 

“What makes the locker room so cool is you’re able to have those discussions and become better and make those decisions for yourself,” Mahomes, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, told reporters Wednesday. “Even though there’s vast differences as far as those speeches happening at the same time, you get to talk to guys and get knowledge and you make your own decisions at the end of the day. 

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“That’s what makes this country so great is that you’re able to get as much knowledge as you can, and then you make your own decisions.”

Reid added: “Everybody’s got their own opinion, and that’s what’s so great about this country. You can share those things and you can work through it. That’s what guys do.”

Mahomes prefaced these comments by talking about Butker as the person he’s come to know over the past seven seasons with the Chiefs. He also admitted he had a difference of opinion with some comments from Butker’s speech. 

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“I judge him by the character he shows every single day – that’s a good person,” Mahomes said. “That’s someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family. He wants to make a good impact in society.

“There’s certain things 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. It may not be the same values that I have, but at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character he shows every single day and that’s a great person.

“It gets a little divisive at times when you get to social media and you get to outside the building. But in the building, you can have those healthy discussions and still be friends at the end of the day, even though you might not agree with the same things.”

Reid said he hasn’t spoken to Butker about the speech, and added that the Chiefs didn’t feel the need to do so. The organization never released a statement regarding the attacks Butker was getting when the speech went viral, but the NFL did release a statement reiterating their commitment to inclusion. 

Butker’s remark directed at the female graduates of Benedictine College, to embrace their “vocation” as a “homemaker,” ruffled many feathers. However, many others have defended Butker, saying he was simply speaking to his Christian beliefs. 

Either way, Mahomes and Reid are alluding to how the Chiefs’ locker room is a place where opinions can be shared and discussions can be had about any topic.  

“We’re a microcosm of life here – different areas, different religions, different races,” Reid said. “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. It’s the great thing about America, man.… My wish is everybody can kinda follow that.”

Mahomes added: “We’ll continue to move along and help build each other up to make ourselves better every single day. At the end of the day, we’re going to come together as a team, and I think that will help eliminate those distractions outside the building.”

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