Make The Chiefs The Official Team Of The Culture War

Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid spoke to the media yesterday, which of course meant that they addressed the recent idiotic comments of their coworker, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. They swept away many of the sexist, homophobic, and antisemitic points that filled out Butker’s commencement address at Benedictine College, in pretty predictable fashion—mostly different variations of “well, lots of people believe stuff that I definitely don’t believe!” Mahomes said that he disagreed with the things Butker said, but ultimately vouched for the kicker’s character. Whatever that means.

“I know Harrison. I’ve known him for seven years and I judge him by the character that he shows every single day, and that’s a good person. That’s someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family and wants to make a good impact in society. When you’re in a locker room, there’s a lot of people from a lot of different areas in life and they have a lot of different views on everything.

“We’re not always going to agree, and there’s 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. That might not be the same values as I have, but at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character that he shows every single day. That’s a great person, and we’ll continue to move along and try to help build each other up to make ourselves better every single day.”

YouTube via Yahoo Sports

Coach Reid did a similar dance step around similar questions:

“I talk to Harrison all the time. I didn’t talk to him about this. I didn’t think we needed to. 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.

“It’s the great thing about America and we’re just, like I said, a microcosm of that. My wish is that everybody could kind of follow that.”

YouTube via Yahoo Sports

Ignore the fact that all of these words say a whole bunch of nothing, and the approach is pretty clear. This was the obvious strategy that the Chiefs and the league in general would take when Butker’s comments went viral and caused a lot of controversy. Nothing was ever going to happen, obviously, but also nothing was really going to be talked about. Much of that controversy was accelerated by conservative news outlets that had convinced themselves Butker’s job was at stake when it quite obviously never was; when you see people talking about a Change.org petition as if it represents a threat to someone’s livelihood, it’s because they can’t come up with anything else. This is a league with a number of known and alleged abusers and criminals still on its rosters. They’re not going to suddenly get righteous about a placekicker with bad politics.

More to the point, the Kansas City Chiefs are mixed up in enough extracurricular controversy that Butker barely registers. Just in this offseason alone, you have the Butker situation and the (much more serious) issues of Rashee Rice, from his alleged altercation at a Dallas nightclub to the eight charges he faces from a multi-vehicle accident. Mahomes and Reid were also questioned plenty about this, given that despite all that Rice is currently participating in team OTAs. That sort of familiar football mess pales relative to the continuing white-hot romance between Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, which continues to spawn conspiracy theories galore and infuriate America’s most easily infuriated culture warriors. There’s so much happening here that you could be forgiven for forgetting that these guys are still the defending champs.

Some might foolishly see these things as “distractions” and needless “noise.” What I see is opportunity—the opportunity to help the Chiefs become the ultimate Culture War team. People love to yell anyways, about sports and in general. More than that, they love to yell at each other, so why shouldn’t the Chiefs become an all-in-one vehicle for them to do so? They’re already going to be the most talked about team in sports—there’s three-peat talk, the Taylor Swift cam, Butker warriors in their droves and weird haircuts. Don’t fight it, embrace it.

So: The Chiefs should sign the first woman to play professional football, they should start kneeling during the anthem again, and they should hire an openly gay coach. Mahomes should start reading Harry Potter books like he’s LeBron; the running backs should unionize against the rest of the team; Kadarius Toney should protest catching balls (more than he does already). The Chiefs should invite both Trump and Biden to the same game and have them sit together just below Taylor Swift’s box. Right there next to Blake Lively, Caitlin Clark, and Jason Sudeikis, who is always somewhere you didn’t ask him to be and whose presence is non-negotiable. Hollywood Brown can start dating Kylie Jenner. Russell Wilson can join the team for a fake quarterback controversy. Andy Reid and his failsons can and must get a Keeping Up With The Kardashians-style reality show. Jackson Mahomes should bring back TikTok dancing on dead player’s murals. (He should definitely not do the other stuff he’s come to be known for, though.)

This would require some work on the team’s part, but not that much. They’re already literally named the Chiefs and do the Seminole war chant at games. This is an organization and a fan base built for this moment, and for the cultural duty of doing way too much, all the time. No one will be able to figure out what they’re doing or whether they should support it, it will contradict and confuse itself constantly, but man will people enjoy yelling about it. In the end, that feels like all most of these people wanted to do anyway.

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