Super Bowl

Between Harrison Butker, Rashee Rice and other off-field developments, Chiefs are having a rough offseason

Between Harrison Butker, Rashee Rice and other off-field developments, Chiefs are having a rough offseason

Kicker Harrison Butker (7) has contributed to a long Chiefs offseason. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

May is a quiet time around the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs were probably happy with some downtime.

Then their kicker made national news with a speech that was condemned across various corners in America's sprawling culture war as being insulting to women and the LGBTQ+ community.

Harrison Butker, at a college graduation speech, talked about how women have been told "diabolical lies" about joining the workforce but "the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world." He then took a shot at Pride Month as part of "deadly sins." All of a sudden the Chiefs' kicker became the latest character on social media, and the NFL had to put out a statement distancing itself from Butker's comments.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Jonathan Beane said in a statement. “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.”

Whenever a team in any sport starts to win too much, it's easy to start disliking it. So the tide was turning against the Chiefs already after three Super Bowl wins in five seasons and two straight.

But the Chiefs are giving plenty of reason for fatigued fans to turn on them. Butker included, spiking jersey sales aside.

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were warm and cuddly underdogs to America once upon a time. It's true.

They were a great story after upsetting the St. Louis Rams for their first Super Bowl at the end of the 2001 season. Then they started winning more. Spygate and Deflategate happened. There were other headlines that added to the fuel. Before long, practically everyone aside from Patriots fans were actively rooting against them. It happens.

It'll happen to the Chiefs too. And they're speeding up the process.

It should be hard to dislike the Chiefs. Andy Reid is a great coach and friendly character. Patrick Mahomes is as exciting a quarterback as we've seen and also very likable. Even they caught some flak and social media memes for yelling at and criticizing officials last season, which they were fined for. Then some controversial headlines might help football fans turn against the Chiefs.

There was overexposure with the Travis Kelce and Taylor Swift storyline. Not everyone was against that, but plenty had a visceral reaction to seeing a pop superstar on their televisions multiple times every Chiefs game. There was even a conspiracy theory that the NFL scheduled a Chiefs game in Buffalo, close to a Swift tour stop in Toronto around that time. The NFL denied that but it wouldn't be the first time the league tried to curry favor with Swift.

Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice was very good late in his rookie season, and looked like a budding star. Then there was a car accident in April involving sports cars racing at a high speed and crashing into innocent people, and Rice's lawyer said Rice was driving the Lamborghini in the scene that was caught on video. The NFL could suspend him for multiple games.

Also this offseason Missouri Gov. Mike Parson was criticized after he commuted the sentence of former Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, the son of Andy Reid, after he was convicted of DWI after a crash in which a 5-year-old girl was severely injured. Reid had a three-year prison sentence, which was a plea deal down from the maximum seven-year stint, and it was commuted by Parson after 16 months.

The Chiefs were having a rough offseason long before Butker gave his graduation speech.

The Chiefs would have morphed into the enemy no matter what. In this social media era, when a team wins too much fans will start to turn on them. Chiefs fans will continue to enjoy the ride but just about everyone else will start hoping for them to lose.

There have been other headlines that have been taxing on the Chiefs, though not reasons to dislike them. Violence broke out at the Super Bowl parade. Voters turned down a stadium tax for renovations to Arrowhead Stadium, putting in doubt the Chiefs' future in Kansas City. Rookie first-round pick Xavier Worthy said he had his car stolen out of the parking garage at his apartment complex. It has been a long offseason for the Chiefs.

The Chiefs should be building up excitement over their push for a third straight Super Bowl championship, something no other team has accomplished. Instead, there have been plenty of other things to distract them.

It has already been a trying offseason in Kansas City. And there are still about four months left before the regular-season starts.

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