A fan of the Kansas City Chiefs who was nine years old and came to the Super Bowl wearing a Native American headdress and the team’s colors on his face was accused of being racist by Deadspin. The accusation was made after the fan arrived at the game.
After one of Deadspin’s writers accused Holden Armenta of wearing “blackface” and attacked him for wearing a Native American headdress to a Chiefs game in November, the family of Holden Armenta filed a lawsuit against the publication.
The Armenta family, hailing from Oklahoma, has taken legal action against sports news outlet Deadspin, claiming defamation after an article penned by Carron J. Phillips accused their nine-year-old son, Armenta, of engaging in racially insensitive behavior during the Super Bowl.
The controversy arose when Armenta, of Native American heritage, was captured on video attending the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, adorned with a feathered headdress and face paint in red, white, and yellow hues.
The footage, widely shared on social media, depicted the youngster joyfully dancing and laughing with his family prior to the game.
In November, Deadspin’s Carron J. Phillips published an article titled ‘The NFL Needs to Speak Out Against the Kansas City Chiefs Fan in Black Face, Native Headdress.’ The piece featured a photo of Armenta with one side of his face painted black.
Phillips alleged that Armenta had ‘found a way to hate Black people and Native Americans at the same time’ with his choice of face paint.
However, subsequent revelations by Armenta’s family contradicted the initial accusations. Fans pointed out that the other half of Armenta’s face was painted red, indicating that he was simply donning the colors of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Armenta Family Sues Deadspin for Defamation
The family, who also revealed their Native American heritage, is now suing Deadspin for defamation.
The lawsuit states that the article falsely alleged that Armenta had ‘found a way to hate Black people and Native Americans at the same time.’ Furthermore, it claimed that H.A.’s parents, Shannon and Raul, ‘taught’ him ‘racism and hate’ at home, intentionally portraying the Armenta family as ‘anti-Black, anti-Native American bigots.’
The Armentas are seeking ‘all costs, disbursements, fees, and interest as authorized by law,’ arguing that the article maliciously attacked a nine-year-old boy and his parents for Phillips’ alleged ‘race-drenched political agenda.’ The family also reported receiving abusive messages following the publication of the story.
Deadspin issued a partial apology in December, expressing regret for any suggestion that they were attacking the fan.
The outlet removed identifying information about the fan and revised the headline ‘to better reflect the substance of the story.’ The Armenta family, however, remains resolute in pursuing legal action against the publication.