Kansas City Chiefs Fan Creates Uproar Over Alleged Blackface

After a quick shot of a young Kansas City Chiefs fan was shown during Sunday’s CBS broadcast of the Chiefs and Raiders game, a piece was written by Deadspin that claimed the child was wearing blackface, which has since caused an online uproar.

In the ridiculous Deadspin article, writer Carron J. Phillips wrote that the fans alleged blackface was the latest result in what he claims is the NFL’s allowance of prejudice and racism. In the only photo used in the Deadspin article, a photo of the child is shown from the side, so viewers can only see the black painted half of his face, rather than seeing that he also had red paint on his face.

Phillips also wondered why CBS even cut to this fan, and also whether the young child understood what he was wearing. Phillips then wrote that the Kansas City Chiefs should be blamed to some degree, alongside the NFL, because of their name.

“If the NFL had outlawed the chop at Chiefs games and been more aggressive in changing the team’s name, then we wouldn’t be here,” Phillips wrote. “There’s no place for a franchise to be called the ‘Chiefs’ in a league that’s already eradicated ‘Redskins.’”

In 2020, Washington’s NFL team changed their name from “Redskins” to “Commanders” amid calls for changes, as the team name has long been considered racist to Native Americans. However, in September, the Native American Guardians Association (NAGA) filed a lawsuit against Washington’s NFL franchise, saying that they should bring back the original name.

This latest Deadspin article further complicates the many reactions towards the NFL and how they deal with systemic racism.

While some had an issue with the Chiefs fan and how he was dressed, many also came to the child’s defense, particularly because it’s clear this fan is very young. Though no official word has been made on his age, most deem he’s no more than twelve years old.

Others state that the child isn’t wearing blackface, as half of his face is also painted red. Online, many have said that it’s clear he’s wearing these two colors to support the Chiefs, as these are their team colors.

Many have subsequently called out Deadspin for seemingly using a picture of the fan that only showed half of his face. Elon Musk even jumped into the conversation, saying that the article and photo “exposed deception” in the media.

Sheila Steinmark, the CEO of MOGXP and a marketing expert, spoke to Newsweek about the allegations against Deadspin of manipulating the pictures of the fan so that only one side of the story is told. She also spoke about how the Chiefs and their brand likely won’t change, especially as “Chiefs” isn’t inherently derogative as “Redskins” was.

“At a certain point, these types of interactions are meant to invoke emotion,” she said. “In marketing, it’s the same way but by positive feelings. And for the Chiefs, they have a great brand that invokes confidence and a team with a legacy. Why would they want to change their name at this point and lose that?”