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A young Kansas City Chiefs fan.(Shannon Armenta/Facebook)

Website that accused young Chiefs fan of racism sold, lays off entire staff

The liberal sports blog that accused a 9-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan of racism has been sold, and the new owner has fired the entire staff.

Deadspin went viral in November for an article accusing Holden Armenta, who wore red and black face paint with a Native American headdress, of wearing “blackface” and finding a way to “hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.” The boy is of Native American heritage, and his parents have filed a defamation lawsuit against Deadspin.

All of Deadspin’s workforce, including the writer who smeared the young football fan, have been forced out, according to a staff memo sent by Deadspin’s Jim Spanfeller, CEO of former parent company G/O Media.

“I have some news to share regarding one of our sites in the G/O Media portfolio,” he wrote, according to Fox News. “Recently we were approached by the European firm Lineup Publishing expressing interest in purchasing Deadspin to add to their growing media holdings. After careful consideration, the G/O Media board of directors has decided to accept their offer. I do want to make it clear that we were not actively shopping Deadspin.”

The new owners are not retaining any of the current staff members.

“This unfortunately means that we will be parting ways with those impacted staff members, who were notified earlier today,” the memo said. “I would like to thank them for their hard work and efforts that helped make Deadspin stand out in the crowded sports media space.””

Deadspin’s mission, according to its X page, is to deliver sports news “without fear, favor or compromise,” but in recent years has drawn more attention for its liberal activism and identity politics. Deadspin reporter Carron J. Phillips initially put a spotlight on an image of young Holden Armenta’s profile, which only showed the half of his face with black face paint.

“The image of a Chiefs fan in Black face wearing a Native headdress during a road game leads to so many unanswered questions,” Phillips wrote. “Why did the camera person give this fan the attention? Why did the producer allow that camera angle to be aired at all? Is that fan a kid/teenager or a young adult? Despite their age, who taught that person that what they were wearing was appropriate?”

Several days later, Deadspin apologized after Armenta’s family threatened to take legal action. The family has since filed that lawsuit.

–Alan Goforth | MV

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