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9-year-old Chiefs fan wearing headdress threatens to sue Deadspin

(NewsNation) —  The parents of a 9-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan threatened to sue “Deadspin” following the publication of an article that accused their son of racial insensitivity.

The article alleged that their son Holden Armenta exhibited racist behavior by painting his face black and red and wearing a Native American headdress to a football game.

In a letter obtained by NewsNation, Holden’s parents, Shannon and Raul Armenta hired Clare Locke LLP to demand a retraction and threaten further action against the author Carron J. Phillips, Deadspin, G/O Media, and Great Hill Partners.

“These Articles, posts on X, and photos about Holden and his parents must be retracted immediately.
It is not enough to quietly remove a tweet from X or disable the article from Deadspin’s website. You
must publish your retractions and issue an apology to my clients with the same prominence and fanfare
with which you defamed them,” the letter says.

Clare Locke is also the same firm that helped Dominion Voting Systems win a $787.5 million settlement against Fox News.

Shannon Armenta posted on Facebook that her son is Native American himself as well as his grandfather, who is serving on the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

The picture of the boy was taken on Nov. 26 at the Chiefs-Raiders game in Las Vegas. Holden was shown on national TV and was also videoed doing the “tomahawk chop” along with tens of thousands of fans in attendance. Even some Chiefs players were doing the gesture on the field.

But after the image of the boy aired, Phillips, a senior writer with Deadspin, wrote the scathing article about the boy’s “racist” and “disrespectful” actions.

“It takes a lot to disrespect two groups of people at once. But on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, a Kansas City Chiefs fan found a way to hate black people and the native americans at the same time,” Phillips wrote in his story.

He continued, “Despite their age, who taught that person that what they were wearing was appropriate?”

Phillips also called out the NFL, calling on the league for “relentlessly participating in prejudice.”

In 2020, the NFL changed the Washington Redskins name, which was started in 1933, to the Washington Commanders. The change came after Native American groups complained for years that the Redskins name was racist.

After the death of George Floyd in 2020, the NFL also promoted messages of equality and racial justice, yet Phillips said no one from the NFL is calling what the young boy did wrong. Sports Illustrated denies accusations of using AI-generated articles 

However, Phillips has also received criticism for blaming the boy for being racist.

When Phillips posted a picture of the kid online, he only showed the black side of the boy’s painted face, which some say was done intentionally to provoke a strong public response.

Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of X, formerly known as Twitter, called Phillips out for being deceptive.

“You really want to ruin this little kid’s life over him wearing his favorite team’s colors? This is an embarrassing take and you should be ashamed of yourselves,” another X user wrote.

Phillips also has supporters who said he was right to call them out for being racially insensitive.

NewsNation’s Dray Clark contributed to this report.

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