Chiefs’ Travis Kelce defends Harrison Butker as ‘a great person and a great teammate,’ despite differing views

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Travis Kelce became the latest Kansas City Chiefs’ player to take a stance in defense of Harrison Butker’s character on Friday amid heavy scrutiny the kicker faced following his commencement speech at a Catholic college in Kansas earlier this month. 

The veteran tight end addressed the topic during the latest episode of the “New Heights” podcast, with his brother, former Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce. 

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, right, speaks next to kicker Harrison Butker during the press conference on the DFB Campus. (Arne Dedert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

“I’ve known him for seven plus years, probably, eight plus years. And I cherish him as a teammate,” Kelce said of Butker, who he calls “Harry.” 

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“I think Pat [Mahomes] said it best where – he is every bit of a great person and a great teammate. 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.”

Butker, and by association the Chiefs, have come under the spotlight since his speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on May 11. In speaking about his views as a Catholic, Butker made references to various topics, including abortion and the LGBTQ community. Speaking directly to female graduates, he spoke about the importance of being a homemaker, which he called “one of the most important titles of all.” 

Kelce admitted to disagreeing with the “majority” of the speech, but he added that he has no interest in judging anyone based on their “religious views.” 

“When it comes down to his views and what he said at the St. Benedictine’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.”

Butker and Kelce celebrate

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, #87, celebrates with place kicker Harrison Butker, #7, after Butker kicks the game winning field goal against the Cincinnati Bengals during the AFC Championship game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.  (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

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Speaking from his own experience being raised by two working parents, Kelce expressed appreciation for all “walks of life.” 

“My mother and my father both provided for our family. And both my mother and my father made home what it was. So they were homemakers, and they were providers, and they were unbelievable at being present every single day in my life. And I think that was a beautiful upbring for me.”

“Now, I don’t think everyone should do it the way my parents did, but I certainly and sure as hell thank my parents and love my parents for being able to provide and making sure that home was what it was,” he added.  

Travis Kelce's parents take the stage

Donna Kelce and Ed Kelce Jason Kelce, parents of Jason and Travis Kelce, take the stage before their sons are presented with diplomas at their alma mater, University of Cincinnati. The brothers both earned degrees but never participated in graduation ceremonies. (Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK)

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Jason Kelce echoed that sentiment, adding that one of the most important takeaways was the importance Butker placed on the family dynamic. 

“I don’t think we have enough people talking about the foundations of families and the importance of and the seriousness of parenthood,” Jason said. “If you are going to embark on being a parent, I do think it needs to be the most important thing in your life.” 

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