The nine-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan engulfed in controversy over his game day Native American costume told a Fox News host how “scary” life has become after mainstream media reporters brought global attention on him by accusing the young boy of wearing blackface.
Holden Armenta and his father, Bubba, sat with Watters Wednesday night and shared their reflections about the days since Sunday’s game when Holden appeared on the stadium’s Jumbotron and grabbed the attention of a reporter at Deadspin, who wrote the article which kicked off the controversy.
“It’s been a little bit of a spiral,” Bubba said.
Asked how he’s holding up, Holden put on a cheerful face and said his friends and community have been behind him. He’s also excited to attend next Sunday’s game where Chiefs Nation has pledged to wear the half-black, half-red face paint that originally drew attention to him.
“It’s okay because 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,” Holden said.
Watters then asked Bubba if he and Holden, who are Native Americans, would accept an apology from Carron J. Phillips, the Deadspin reporter who wrote that Holden “found a way to hate Black people and the Native Americans at the same time.”
“I don’t even know what to think about that. It’s a little too late for that. The damage is already done. It’s worldwide. Now there’s comments all over, there’s disrespect toward Native Americans and toward my family. We never in any way, shape, or form never meant to disrespect any Native Americans. The tribe we’re from doesn’t even wear that headdress. This specific headdress is a novelty piece, it’s a costume piece. That’s exactly what we’d purchased it for and wore it for.
“It’s been a whirlwind of comments coming even from other tribes, tribal members. Some think it’s okay, some thing it’s not okay. It’s a nine-year-old boy supporting his team,” he added.
The NFL has walked a tightrope as liberals have come for the names and likenesses of Native Americans among its teams. During the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, sponsors began pressuring the Washington Redskins to change their name and ultimately succeeded in converting the team into the Washington Commanders. The Chiefs leadership has unapologetically said their team’s name will stay.