The exterior of Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Arrowhead Stadium is home to the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

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‘Nick Sandmann 2.0′: A kid in Chiefs’ gear was accused of wearing Blackface—and instantly became a far-right hero

'Hope this kid sues the f*ck out of this site and the author for defamation.'

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Posted on Nov 28, 2023   Updated on Dec 5, 2023, 8:19 am CST

The sports blog Deadspin stirred controversy online after accusing a young Kansas City Chiefs fan of wearing Blackface during a game in Las Vegas.

The fiasco began on Monday when the blog posted a picture to of a child who appeared to have his face covered in black paint while wearing a Native headdress.

“The NFL needs to speak out against the Kansas City Chiefs fan in Black face, Native headdress,” Deadspin wrote.

https://twitter.com/Deadspin/status/1729166833520177256?s=20

The blog post, written by Carron Phillips, argued that the child in question somehow found “a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.”

But the article appears to be based off of a single image showing the child’s face from the side. Users on X were quick to note that other pictures showed that the child’s face was actually painted half black and half red, colors of the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Hope this kid sues the fuck out of this site and the author for defamation,” one user responded. “The kid wasn’t in black face, he painted his face in the colours of the team he follows. Lawyer up, kid.”

The child instantly became a cause célèbre on the far-right, who have been looking for ways to sue the media out of existence for the past half-decade.

“The media is really trying to smear a child,” wrote right-wing influencer.

https://twitter.com/alx/status/1729308444849524809
https://twitter.com/IsEnspire/status/1729343873405821385?s=20

Many began comparing the child to Covington Catholic High School student Nicholas Sandmann, who filed defamation suits against numerous media outlets after being accused of harassing a Native American man in 2019 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“Kid is supporting the color of his team and you’re just race baiting pieces of shit,” another user on X wrote. “Nick Sandmann ver 2.0 get ready to get sued into Oblivion.”

Sandmann eventually settled with several media organizations but did not appear to get the massive sums he was claimed he owed.

https://twitter.com/Schilling1776/status/1729462893098258596?s=20

As is nearly always the case online, the incident was soon met with a barrage of insults and derogatory memes aimed at the media.

“Deadspin needs to be 86’d, and the writer of this pap article needs to be shamed out of journalism forever,” an X user wrote.

In response to the pushback, Phillips, the author of the article, defended his stance by arguing that the red half of the boy’s face could equally be seen as offensive.

“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,” Phillips said. “Y’all are the ones who hate Mexicans but wear sombreros on Cinco.”

Deadspin also appears to be standing by Phillips as both their post on X and the article itself remain online unchanged.

The controversy is linked to a longstanding debate in the NFL over team names and mascots deemed offensive, particularly to Native Americans. Although some teams have updated their names—such as the Washington Commanders, who changed their name in 2022—the Chiefs franchise thus far has declined to do so.

And this week, the parents of the boy announced they’d retained a top-tier defamation lawyer and formally sent a retraction notice to Deadspin.

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*First Published: Nov 28, 2023, 8:01 am CST