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Deadspin Blackface Chiefs Fan Article Controversy refers to the backlash towards an article in which the sports media website Deadspin condemned the showing of a child Kansas City Chiefs fan for supposedly wearing "blackface" and a Native American headdress by CBS during a game between the Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders in late November 2023. The article posited that the face paint, which it called "blackface," and Native American headdress were offensive and the NFL needed to step in. However, it turned out that the image was misleading, as the second half of the child's face was painted red and he had painted his face red and black to support the team, whose colors match the two tones. Furthermore, it was later revealed that the child is of Native American descent. These revelations led to harsh condemnation of Deadspin online as a controversy around it and its author spread on social media over the following days.
On November 27th, 2023, the sports media publication Deadspin posted an opinion piece condemning the NFL and CBS for showing a young Kansas City Chiefs fan in a Native American headdress who was wearing black face paint during the team's November 26th game against the Las Vegas Raiders, which it notably labeled "blackface" (seen below).
The image had also circulated the day prior in a tweet by X / Twitter user @fourverts, who posted it with the caption "this chiefs fan is totally having a normal one," gaining over 3,000 retweets and 9,000 likes in three days (shown below).
In the article, Deadspin writer Carron Phillips harshly condemned the NFL for broadcasting such racism, connecting the image to the Redskins name change, the banning of books and teaching Critical Race Theory in America, and the lip service the NFL pays toward combatting racism.
After Deadspin published the piece on November 27th, 2023, additional photos of the child emerged showing that the other half of his face was painted red, showing that he was not in blackface but wearing face paint representing his team's colors.
Also on November 27th, the boy's mother, Shannon Armenta, slammed the Deadspin piece on Facebook and added that, in addition to not wearing blackface, the boy is Native American. The boy's grandfather is Raul Armenta, a Business Committee Member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.
The incident led to a significant backlash against Deadspin in late November 2023, with people feeling the publication had insufficiently researched the story and was in the wrong for smearing him and his family as racist. On November 27th, 2023, Elon Musk crowed that Twitter's Community Notes had "exposed deception," gaining over 30,000 retweets and 287,000 likes in two days (shown below, left).
On November 29th, Twitter user @CollinRugg suggested the child's family could win a massive lawsuit against Deadspin, gaining over 4,000 retweets and 18,000 likes in one day (shown below, right).
Phillips was initially defiant against criticism of his piece, writing in a since-deleted tweet, "For the idiots in my mentions who are treating this as some harmless act because the other side of his face was painted red, I could make the argument that it makes it even worse." He later added, "Y’all are the ones who hate Mexicans but wear sombreros on Cinco [de Mayo]." He has not commented on the article since, as of November 29th, 2023.