The family of a young Kansas City Chiefs fan have sued Deadspin for defamation after a reporter for the outlet labeled the child racist.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, follows a report published by writer Carron J. Phillips that accused 9-year-old Holden Armenta of wearing black face.

In the story, Phillips wrote that Armenta had “found a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time” with his face paint at a Chiefs game.

Armenta’s face was painted red and black, the Kansas City Chiefs’ colors.

The 9-year-old’s family later revealed his Native American heritage.

UPDATE: Young Kansas City Chiefs Fan Falsely Smeared For Wearing ‘Black Face’ Is Native American

“The Article falsely alleged that H.A. had ‘found a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time,'” the lawsuit read.

“It alleged that H.A.’s parents, Shannon and Raul, ‘taught’ H.A. ‘racism and hate’ at home. It intentionally painted a picture of the Armenta Family as anti-Black, anti-Native American bigots who proudly engaged in the worst kind of racist conduct motivated by their family’s hatred for Black and Native Americans," it added.

The Washington Examiner reports:

The Armenta family states in their lawsuit that “none” of Deadspin’s story was true, pointing to how half of Holden Armenta’s face was painted black while the other was painted red, mimicking the Chiefs’ team colors. The lawsuit also pointed to how Holden Armenta is of Native American descent, and that the Native American headdress he wore to the game was worn because he loves both his heritage and the Chiefs football team.

The lawsuit asks for the court to give the Armenta family “a narrowly-tailored injunction prohibiting the republication of any statement or image adjudicated to be false and defamatory.” Additionally, it also asks for the family to be given “all costs, disbursements, fees, and interest as authorized by law.”

In the wake of Deadspin’s defamatory article, many have slammed it for pushing a false narrative, with media personality Joe Rogan greatly criticizing it. Holden Armenta’s father, Bubba Armenta, explained that he had been “upset” over the accusations against his son, and that it was “a little too late” for an apology.

Ahead of the 2024 Super Bowl on Sunday, in which the Chiefs are playing against the San Francisco 49ers, a fundraiser has been launched online to send Holden Armenta and his father to the big game. One of the men who started the petition told the Washington Examiner he wanted to “turn something dark into something light for them” after the ordeal the family has gone through. As of Wednesday, roughly $7,500 had been donated to the cause.

The Daily Caller added:

The boy’s parents threatened to sue Deadspin and its owner, G/O Media, unless the outlet immediately retracted the story. The outlet instead included an editor’s note stating the article focused on the National Football League’s (NFL) “failure” to extend anti-racist rules across the entire league.

“Deadspin did not retract the Article, and it did not apologize,” the complaint states. “Rather, it published a series of further ‘updates’ that not only failed to correct the record, but instead established that Deadspin fully understood the Article’s highly damaging and defamatory nature—while maliciously refusing to back down. And Deadspin’s lawyers threatened the Armenta family with counter-legal action should Raul and Shannon attempt to hold Phillips and Deadspin accountable for their false and defamatory Article.”

The lawsuit alleges Armenta’s grades and test scores have dropped in school since the article’s publication and has caused his father, Raul, to become a “pariah” at work. The family has also considered moving out of state over the incident.


Armenta has suffered “a devastating loss” of his “innocence of youth” and an “encumbered love for his favorite football team and its players, according to the suit.

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