Kansas City, Missouri – A young fan of the Kansas City Chiefs made an appearance at Allegiant Stadium to support his team in Super Bowl LVIII. Holden Armenta, the 9-year-old boy at the center of a lawsuit against Deadspin, showed up wearing a Native American headdress and his face painted in the team’s colors of yellow, white, and red.
Holden gained attention earlier in the season when he was seen wearing black and red paint on his face and a headdress during a Chiefs game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Deadspin published an article accusing him of blackface and cultural appropriation. However, the boy’s face paint was intended to represent the Chiefs’ colors, and his grandfather is reportedly a member of the Chumash Tribe in California.
In a video posted on social media platform X, Holden boldly predicted that the Chiefs would defeat the San Francisco 49ers with a score of 31-28. His appearance at the Super Bowl comes after his parents, Raul and Shannon Armenta, filed a lawsuit against Deadspin, alleging that the website and its author purposely selected a photo that only showed one half of Holden’s face, creating a false narrative of racism.
The lawsuit claims that Deadspin and author Carron Phillips intentionally excluded the half of Holden’s face that was painted red, showing a clear bias. It insists that Holden wore the headdress out of love for the Chiefs and pride in his Native American heritage, not out of hate.
Deadspin eventually edited the article and removed the photo featuring Holden. The website expressed regret but did not apologize for the way they initially portrayed the young fan. G/O Media, the parent company of Deadspin, has not provided a comment on the matter.
Holden’s story highlights a broader ongoing debate regarding cultural appropriation and appropriate representation in sports fandom. The lawsuit filed by his parents aims to challenge the way media outlets handle such situations. The case raises questions about the responsibility of journalists and the potential impact of their reporting on individuals, particularly children.
As Holden takes his place among Chiefs fans at Super Bowl LVIII, his presence reinforces his family’s message that their actions were motivated by team spirit and cultural pride, not hate. The outcome of the lawsuit against Deadspin may serve as an important precedent for future cases involving the portrayal of young sports fans and issues of cultural sensitivity.