The parents of a 9-year-old fan who wore face paint and a Native American headdress to a Kansas City Chiefs game have filed a defamation lawsuit against media outlet Deadspin. Raul and Shannon Armenta claim that Deadspin maliciously attacked their son by accusing him of wearing ‘blackface’ in an article published by Deadspin Senior Writer Carron Phillips.
The incident occurred during a Chiefs-Raiders NFL football game on November 26. The Armenta’s son attended the game with his face painted half-red and half-black, sporting a costume headdress and Chiefs jersey. While the cameras captured him on national TV, an article on Deadspin alleged that he was in ‘blackface’ and wearing a ‘Native headdress,’ stirring controversy.
The Armenta family, who have Native American heritage, strongly denies the allegations of racism and hate leveled against them. They maintain that they do not teach hate in their home and their son’s face paint was meant to show support for the team. The family’s attorney criticized Deadspin for intentionally targeting a 9-year-old boy and damaging his innocence.
The article on Deadspin originally had a headline that read, ‘The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in Black face, Native headdress.’ However, it was later updated with an editor’s note clarifying that the intention was to criticize the NFL’s policies regarding cultural appropriation, rather than attack the young fan and his family.
The lawsuit against Deadspin highlights the sensitive issue of cultural sensitivity and racial intolerance in sports, particularly concerning Native American symbols and traditions. It also draws attention to the broader debate surrounding the NFL’s handling of race-related controversies, including the recent rebranding of the Washington Redskins.
In light of the controversy, the Armenta family remains steadfast in their support for the Kansas City Chiefs and their excitement for the upcoming Super Bowl. Holden, the young fan at the center of the incident, continues to be a devoted fan, with Travis Kelce being his favorite player.
The lawsuit against Deadspin serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of misinterpretation and the responsibility of media outlets when reporting sensitive issues.
As the legal battle unfolds, it has sparked a wider conversation about cultural sensitivity, racism, and the need for clearer guidelines within the sports industry.
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