A progressive website accused a young Chiefs fan of being racist for wearing a Native American headdress and painting his face at a recent game. As it turned out, the boy himself is Native American. Now, Chiefs fans say they’ll come to the Dec. 3 game against the packers also dressed in similar face paint.
“Deadspin” alleged without proof that the football fan, identified as Holden Armenta, “ found a way to hate black people and the Native Americans at the same time.” The headline urged the NFL to publicly condemn the boy for insulting African Americans with his “blackface” and Native-Americans by wearing the traditional tribal headdress.
In response, Shannon Holden, the boy’s mother, wrote on Facebook: “This has nothing to do with the NFL. Also, CBS showed him multiple times and this is the photo people chose to blast to create division. He is Native American — just stop already.”
Although the article used an image that showed only the half of Armenta’s face that was painted black to substantiate the claim that he was wearing “blackface,” other images show that the other side of his face was painted red for the Chiefs. Bubba Armenta, the child’s father, is the son of Raul Armenta, a business committee member of the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, according to local news story from 2014. The family lives in Santa Ynez, Calif., according to Facebook.
The mother’s Facebook feed showed other footage and photos from the game night, such as a close-up video of her son doing the tomahawk chop, with the players repeating the movement back to him. “The players even loved it!,” she wrote. “Everyone asked to take a photo with him. He’s Native-American – people are ridiculous.”
Holden said the reaction to what he was wearing during the game against the Raiders was starting to make him “a little nervous.” “Because if they go a little bit overboard, it’s a little scary,” he said.
When asked on Fox News if Deadspin owed an apology, the boy’s dad said it’s “a little too late” for an apology from the Deadspin reporter because the “damage is already done.”
“It’s, you know, worldwide. Now, there’s comments all over. There’s, you know, disrespect towards Native Americans and towards my family,” he continued.
The writer of the original “Deadspin” article defended his attempt to shame the child in a social-media post. “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,” writer Carron J. Phillips wrote on X. “Y’all are the ones who hate Mexicans but wear sombreros on Cinco.”
Phillips has not addressed the boy’s Native American heritage.
Holden said it feels “pretty good” to know that Chiefs fans are planning to wear black and red face paint in support of him at the next game.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice