Sports blog Deadspin was thoroughly hammered online for a story that presumed a young Kansas City Chiefs fan was guilty of wearing blackface and Indigenous headdress to a recent game.
In an article published Monday morning, the writer argued that the NFL needed to “speak out” against the fan for finding “a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.”
“This is what happens when you ban books, stand against Critical Race Theory, and try to erase centuries of hate,” wrote senior writer Carron J. Phillips. “You give future generations the ammunition they need to evolve and recreate racism better than before.”
However, the CBS camera angle that seemingly caught the fan in blackface actually filmed him in profile on one side.
According to an Associated Press photo from Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Las Vegas, the fan — identified as Holden Armenta — is seen with black paint on one side of his face and red paint on the other.
It is worth noting that the team’s primary colours are red, white and gold.
Also, while the game was played in Las Vegas, the Chiefs have banned fans from wearing headdresses and face paint, along with the tomahawk chop, inside Arrowhead Stadium since September 2020 following complaints of racism.
However, Shannon Armenta, the boy’s mother, said the photo published in the Deadspin article was used to “create division.” She also pointed out that her son is Native American.
“This has nothing to do with the NFL,” she wrote on Facebook. “Also, CBS showed him multiple times and this is the photo people chose to blast to create division. He is Native American – just stop already.”
On social media site X (formerly known as Twitter), readers added a community note beneath the Deadspin post and called the article “purposely deceiving. As several fans in attendance noted, the other half of his face is painted red.”
On Facebook, a Chiefs fan group also came to the boy’s defence.
“During Sundays broadcast this kid was shown,” wrote Real Kansas City Chiefs Fans. “Everyone is making a massive deal out of this and only trying to show one side of his face to push their narrative. Leave this kid alone.”
Others on social media called for Deadspin to be sued by the family, while some said the site should be embarrassed for trying to smear the child with accusations of racism.
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