Why is 9-year-old Chiefs fan Holden Armenta grabbing headlines?

The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up to secure a win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII. Patrick Mahomes and his team are hell-bent to secure another Lombardi trophy, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit. Another title in this campaign will further establish their dominance as the future powerhouse in the NFL.

The players from the Chiefs and 49ers are currently being interviewed by various media outlets in preparation for the upcoming clash on February 11. Meanwhile, there have been some recent developments in the ongoing controversy surrounding Holden Armenta, the 9-year-old Chiefs fan.

Why is 9-year-old Chiefs fan going viral?

The fervor surrounding the Chiefs fan recently skyrocketed after a photo of him attending a Chiefs game went viral. His choice to wear a headdress and paint his face in the team’s colors, red and black, during a Sunday night game against the Raiders in Las Vegas caught the eye of Deadspin reporter Carron Phillips. However, Phillips fixated on a photo showing only the black side of Holden’s face.

Phillips even accused Holden of promoting hate towards black people and Native Americans in an article titled “The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in black face, Native headdress.” The article quickly spread across social media platforms, prompting widespread backlash and condemnation from netizens.

The kid’s mother refuted the racism claim in the aftermath of the controversy. Conservative voices such as Elon Musk and Ted Cruz joined the fray, further amplifying the criticism against Deadspin and Phillips. Deadspin later amended the article’s title and replaced the contentious photo of Holden with an image of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Holden and his family experienced a mix of emotions when they were suddenly thrust into the spotlight. The family’s excitement of seeing their child on the stadium Jumbotron was dampened by the negative attention generated by Phillips’ article. His father had previously voiced his dissatisfaction with the situation. He mentioned that Phillips’ apology would be insufficient and untimely.

Aftermath of the controversy

The family of the Chiefs fan filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Deadspin, citing irreparable damage to their son and themselves. In the lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Holden’s parents, Shannon and Raul Armenta, asserted that the article deliberately defamed their family.

“The Article falsely alleged that [Holden] had ‘found a way to hate Black people and Native Americans at the same time.’ It alleged that [Holden]’s parents, Shannon and Raul, ‘taught’ [Holden] ‘racism and hate’ at home,” the lawsuit wrote via the NY Post.

The claim said that the Armenta family was shown to be against black people and native Americans. Additionally, the family was portrayed as advocates of abhorrent racist behavior, resulting in them being inundated with a deluge of hateful messages and even threats to their lives.

Whether Holden’s clothing at the game violated the team’s fan code of conduct is still up for debate. The organization had made changes to its dress code policy, which now prohibits certain forms of attire, such as headdresses and face paint, that reference Native American cultures. It is still uncertain whether the Chiefs fan’s outfit fell under these prohibitions. Despite multiple inquiries, the Chiefs team has not provided any clarification on the matter.

However, Holden remains resolute in his support for the Chiefs, regardless of the tumultuous aftermath. He adamantly declared his intention to continue wearing the Chiefs colors to future games.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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