The Armenta family, parents to 9-year-old Holden, a fervent Kansas City Chiefs supporter, has initiated legal actions against Deadspin and journalist Carron Phillips after the publication accused the young boy of racism for his game day attire. Holden, donning a Native American headdress and face paint that was half black and half red, was featured in an article titled “The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in Black face, Native headdress,” authored by Phillips.
In response, Holden’s parents, Shannon and Raul, engaged legal counsel from Clare Locke LLP, demanding a retraction and an apology for the article. The family expressed that the publication’s actions were deeply damaging and required immediate rectification.
“It is not enough to quietly remove a tweet or disable the article,” stated the family’s legal letter, emphasizing the need for a prominent retraction and an apology commensurate with the initial defamation.
Deadspin‘s depiction of Holden, featuring a sideways image that seemingly suggested he wore blackface without acknowledging the red side, prompted outrage and accusations of deception. Shannon Armenta shared numerous images of her son enjoying the game, highlighting the misrepresentation by the publication.
The article’s claims that Holden’s ensemble exhibited hate towards Black people and Native Americans have been met with vehement opposition. The Armenta family, with strong ties to the Chumash Tribe, pointed out the boy’s Native American heritage, emphasizing that the portrayal was misconstrued and misleading.
Despite mounting backlash, Phillips reportedly defended his stance in a now-deleted social media post, further fueling the controversy. Speaking to Fox News, Holden expressed his discomfort at being unfairly labeled a racist due to his attire, while his father voiced dismay over the distress caused to his son.
The Armenta family remains steadfast in their stance that the intent behind Holden’s attire was pure fandom, not any form of disrespect. They seek accountability from Deadspin for the considerable damage caused by the inaccurate portrayal of their son’s actions.