NFL star Travis Kelce doesn’t give AF about right-wing backlash, teams up with Bud Light

It’s not uncommon for NFL stars to be featured in beer commercials. But these are not typical times.

Over the past several months, Bud Light has become one of the most polarizing brands in America due to its short-lived partnership with transgender TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney. Way back in April, Bud Light teamed up with Mulvaney for a pair of social media ads, and MAGA crybabies have been whining ever since.

With that context in mind, many high-profile professional athletes may choose to stay away from endorsing Bud Light. But not Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. The two-time Super Bowl champion stars in a new ad for the beleaguered beer company and seems unfazed by the performative backlash.

That’s a championship-level move.

The 15-second spot, titled “Grunts,” pokes fun at the audible sounds men make when they grab a cold one and plop down on their favorite chair. Kelce is front and center, dishing out head nods and a nice “yeahhh” at the end of the ad. (NFL rules prohibit Kelce from actually drinking beer during the ad.)

It doesn’t take a lot of social media reading to see vitriol that Kelce is facing for his association with Bud Light. But unsurprisingly, it seems those tearing Kelce are just offering hot air. The eight-time Pro Bowler has added over 100 followers a day on Instagram since the ad was released, according to Newsweek.

Kelce, for his part, is an A-lister in the making. Fresh off winning his second Super Bowl in February—the Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in an absolute thriller—he hosted Saturday Night Live. His monologue was spectacular and self-deprecating.

Kelce poked fun at the inordinate amount of coverage his family gets leading up to the Super Bowl since his brother, Jason, plays for the Eagles. “I get to play against my brother Jason. And my mom was on TV more than most of us,” he said.

Kelce’s best material came toward the end of his monologue, when he acknowledged the failure of his short-lived reality dating show, “Catching Kelce.”

“It was like ‘The Bachelor,’ except instead of roses, I was handing out footballs, and instead of watching, people didn’t,” he said. “That show is owned by NBC Universal, so it should be on Peacock. But Peacock said, ‘Nah, we’re good!’

While NFL stars occasionally host SNL–Peyton Manning is widely regarded as perhaps the greatest athlete to ever grace the stage – it’s rare for non-quarterbacks to receive the honor. Kelce’s spot on SNL speaks to his movie-star lovability and uniqueness.

He is now in a rare group among some of the most famous athletes in history, including Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Tom Brady.

“I think he killed it,” said SNL creator Lorne Michaels. “He’s a natural. He was there from the moment he walked out.”

Kelce is on cover up Vanity FairJuly/August edition, who have termed this the “Kelce Summer”. He recently signed with CAA, one of the top talent agencies in Hollywood.

Kelce doesn’t need to star in a Bud Light ad for cultural relevance, especially since he plays in deep red Missouri. Some of the state’s most prominent pols, including Sen. Josh Hawley, have lambasted the company in recent months.

A few years ago, the Chiefs were fans dented their own team for participating in a “Moment of Unity” on the field following the George Floyd protests.

On the whole, NFL fans are more conservative than the general population, and that’s certainly the case in Kansas City. Almost 59% of Chiefs fans identify as “right-wing”.

Still, Kelce isn’t deterred. The Chiefs star may only grunt in the new Bud Light ad, but his presence speaks louder than any words.

Scroll down to see reaction to Kelce’s bold move…

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