Travis Kelce on Harrison Butker's controversial speech: 'When it comes down to his views ... those are his'

Kelce addressed Butker's comments on this week's episode of the "New Heights" podcast with his brother Jason

Travis Kelce addressed Harrison Butker's comments on this week's episode of the
Travis Kelce addressed Harrison Butker's comments on this week's episode of the "New Heights" podcast with his brother Jason. (AP Photo/Lachlan Cunningham)

Travis Kelce was the latest member of the Kansas City Chiefs to respond to kicker Harrison Butker's controversial commencement address at Benedictine College last week.

On this week's episode of the "New Heights" podcast that Kelce hosts with his brother, Jason Kelce, the Chiefs tight end said that he "cherishes" Butker as a teammate. He also echoed quarterback Patrick Mahomes' sentiment this week and said that Butker is "every bit of a great person and a great teammate."

“He’s treated family and family that I’ve introduced to him with nothing but respect and kindness," Kelce said. "And that’s how he treats everyone. When it comes down to his views and what he said at Saint Benedict’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.”

Kelce also spoke about growing up around people of different races, religions and social classes in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

“It showed me a broad spectrum, just a broad view of a lot of different walks of life," Kelce said. "And I appreciated every single one of those people for different reasons, and I never once had to feel like I needed to judge them, based off of their beliefs.”

In his commencement address, Butker spoke against Pride Month, President Joe Biden, abortion, surrogacy and in-vitro fertilization. He said he believes women have been told "diabolical lies" about having a career, saying about his wife that “her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

"How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career?" he said. "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."

The NFL responded to Butker's comments saying, “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

Regarding Butker's comments about women, Kelce praised his parents for how they brought up their two sons.

“Both my mother and my father made home what it was,” Kelce said. “They were homemakers and they were providers and they were unbelievable at being present every single day in my life. That was a beautiful upbringing for me. I don’t think everyone should do it the way that my parents did, but I certainly, sure as hell, thank my parents and love my parents for being able to provide and making sure that home was what it was because I’m not the same person without both of them being who they were in my life.”

Jason Kelce said there were "a lot" of parts of Butker's speech that he does not "align" with, but he added he wasn't surprised at the content of the comments considering they were being delivered at a Catholic university.

“To me, I can listen to somebody talk and take great value in it, like when he’s talking about the importance of family and the importance that a great mother can make, while also acknowledging that not everybody has to be a homemaker if that’s not what they want to do in life.”

During OTAs this week, 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 is trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction."

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said he didn't speak to Butker about his speech, but commented, "We're a microcosm of life. Everybody is from different areas, different religions, different races, and so, 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."

The controversy surrounding Butker has been only one of a few off-field stories about the reigning Super Bowl champions, who have seen top wide receiver Rashee Rice arrested for his Lamborghini crash, the rejection of a stadium tax to keep the team at Arrowhead Stadium and the arrest of two players for marijuana possession.