Commentary: Why Criticizing a 9-Year-Old Chiefs Fan is Unjustified

CEO Tam DT
Imagine being a 9-year-old boy attending a football game and suddenly becoming an internet sensation, with millions of Google hits within a week. This is the reality for young Holden Armenta, a devoted Kansas City...

Imagine being a 9-year-old boy attending a football game and suddenly becoming an internet sensation, with millions of Google hits within a week. This is the reality for young Holden Armenta, a devoted Kansas City Chiefs fan who captured hearts with his vibrant support for his team. Unfortunately, in today's culture of outrage, there always seems to be someone ready to spoil the fun, even if it means targeting a happy child.

A writer for a major national sports blog, Carron Phillips of "Deadspin," took it upon himself to write an entire column attacking Holden. Instead of celebrating the joy of a young boy at a football game, Phillips accused him of engaging in "blackface" and questioned why the NFL allowed it. It's important to note that Holden's face was half black and half red, representing the Kansas City Chiefs' team colors. The deliberate omission of this fact by Phillips created a false narrative. Not only does this accusation misinterpret the meaning of "blackface," but it also diminishes the historical significance of this racist practice.

Furthermore, Phillips went on to claim that by wearing a Native American headdress and participating in the tomahawk chop, Holden was simultaneously hating Black people and Native Americans. The writer's attempt to label a 9-year-old as a bigot and incite outrage against him, his parents, and the NFL is both unfounded and unfair. What Phillips failed to mention is that Holden himself is Native American, belonging to the Chumash Tribe, of which his grandfather is a board member.

Wearing face paint is a common practice among football fans, and it shouldn't be misconstrued as an act of hatred or racism. When a Patriots fan wears blue face paint, are they being racist towards Smurfs? The tomahawk chop and chant, criticized by some, has long been a part of football culture and is meant to inspire and support the team. It is not an expression of racism.

The controversy surrounding the Kansas City Chiefs' name, deemed offensive by some, raises questions about cultural acknowledgment. Honoring a culture by naming a sports team after it should not be seen as offensive. The Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) supports this viewpoint and has even filed a lawsuit against the NFL team that changed its name, arguing that it erases Native American history and identity.

Hate only begets more hate. It is crucial for both the writer and the online community to refrain from turning harmless situations into scandals and to stop robbing children of their joys. Let children be children and celebrate their innocence. As we approach Christmas parades, let's remember to embrace happiness and leave the unnecessary outrage behind.

Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos Image: Alicia Preston Xanthopoulos

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