On Wednesday, the young, Native American Kansas City Chiefs fan who became the target of a cancellation campaign by sports blog Deadspin for wearing face paint and a native headdress at a match spoke out about the orderal. Deadspin had blasted the child for "racism" and demanded the NFL take action.
In an interview with Fox News' Jesse Watters, 9-year-old Holden Armenta said that his newfound fame was starting to make him feel "a little nervous," while his father, Bubba, slammed reporter Carron Phillips for going after a child for simply supporting his favorite team.
"How are you feeling right now?" Watters asked, to which Holden replied, "It's okay."
He explained that "a lot of kids at school are getting excited, but it's starting to get me a little nervous because if they go a little bit overboard, it's a little scary," adding that the response from his community has been "okay so far."
Armenta's father told Watters that when his son first appeared on the jumbotron at last Sunday's Chief's game, he was "excited," but lamented that since then, it's "been a little bit of a spiral."
"It's been a lot," he said. "It's been a pretty crazy couple of days. I was mad, upset for him. I'm mad that he's upset. He's pretty devastated. I mean, he's seen the videos and everything posted."
When asked whether he'd like an apology from Phillips, Mr. Armenta said it was "a little too late for that."
"The damage is already done. It's, you know, worldwide. Now there's comments all over; there's, you know, disrespect towards Native Americans and towards my family. We never in any way, shape or form meant to disrespect any Native Americans or any tribes."
In the days since Deadspin published its hitpiece on Holden, in which Phillips not only falsely accused the boy of anti-black racism, but anti-native racism, it was revealed that he is actually Native American himself. His grandfather even sits on the board of the Chumash Tribe in Santa Ynez.
In 2020, the Chiefs banned the wearing of headdresses and "any face paint that is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions."
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