Parents Of 9-Year Old Native American Chiefs Fan Suing Deadspin After Being Smeared As Racist

Holden Armenta Kansas City Chiefs
Shannon Armenta

Making them back up those words in court.

If you remember back a couple months ago, many online were quick to jump on the outrage train after the cameras showed a young fan at the Kansas City Chiefs game this weekend against the Las Vegas Raiders wearing a Native American headdress with his face painted black.

Deadspin writer Carron Phillips posted an article titled “The NFL Needs to Speak Out Against The Kansas City Chiefs Fan In Black Face, Native Headdress,” accusing the boy of wearing blackface while saying that he “found a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time” by wearing a Native American headdress.

And former ESPN host Dan Le Batard retweeted a post (that’s since been deleted) calling the child racist.

But the narrative quickly crumbled when it was revealed that the fan wasn’t wearing blackface: Half of his face was painted red…you know, like the Chiefs colors.

But that couldn’t stop the self-righteous morality police from shifting the narrative. Instead of “he’s racist for wearing blackface,” it quickly pivoted to “he’s racist for painting his face red while dressed like a Native American.”

On his show, Le Batard doubled down on his accusations that the child’s costume was racist:

“The kid is still in full racist garb.”

Well, then it came out that the people who were offended on behalf of the Native Americans were wrong once again…because it turns out, the child is actually Native American himself.

The boy was quickly identified as Holden Armenta, and in a post on Facebook, his mother Shannon defended her son from accusations that his gameday attire was somehow racist towards Native Americans – by pointing out that young Holden IS Native American.

Not only is Holden himself a Native American, but his grandfather actually sits on the board of the Chumash Indians.

Raul Armenta

Deadspin updated their article, changing the title to “The NFL Must Ban Native Headdress And Culturally Insensitive Face Paint in the Stands

On Nov. 27, Deadspin published an opinion piece criticizing the NFL for allowing a young fan to attend the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Nov. 26 wearing a traditional Native American headdress and, based upon the available photo, what appeared to be black face paint.

Unfortunately the article drew attention to the fan, though our intended focus was on the NFL and its checkered history on race, an issue which our writer has covered extensively for Deadspin. Three years ago, the Chiefs banned fans from wearing headdresses in Arrowhead Stadium, as well as face painting that “appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions.” The story’s intended focus was the NFL and its failure to extend those rules to the entire league.

We regret any suggestion that we were attacking the fan or his family. To that end, our story was updated on Dec. 7 to remove any photos, tweets, links, or otherwise identifying information about the fan. We have also revised the headline to better reflect the substance of the story.

But that wasn’t enough for Armenta’s family, who has now filed a lawsuit against G/O Media, Inc., parent company of Deadspin, in Delaware Superior Court.

In the complaint, Armenta’s family identifies their son as a fan who “loves the Kansas City Chiefs – and loves his family’s Chumash-Indian heritage.” And they accuse Deadspin of defamation, asking a court to issue an injunction prohibiting Deadspin from further spreading false and defamatory statements against the 9-year old, while also requesting both actual and punitive damages.

The family is seeking a jury trial in the case.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock