Deadspin’s Bizarre “Editor’s Note” on Blackface Story Sparks Outrage and Confusion


It’s said that all press is good press. But I don’t think Deadspin would agree with this after it was slammed for attempting to ruin the life of a nine-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan.

The story began in Las Vegas when the boy attended a road game between the Chiefs and Raiders. The boy was wearing a Native American cape and black face paint in a side-profile photo. A columnist at Deadspin had the brilliant idea to accuse the child of wearing blackface and publishing his picture on social media to go viral.

It didn’t take long for the truth to come out: the boy had his face black and red painted in support of his favorite NFL team.

A few days later, the parents of the boy were reported to have retained legal counsel and sent a request for a correction. Deadspin published one, and it is…something.

I’m not a legal expert but I’m fairly sure that won’t cut it. The note does not even acknowledge that the boy had his face painted multiple colors, and was not wearing blackface. It would be expected that any correction to the story include this. Deadspin, however, essentially doubled down, implying that the main message of the story had been missed.

But I don’t believe that to be true. The article was about NFL policy. But the picture of the boy and the headline accusing him of blackface were on the front. This accusation was the basis of the entire article. The note continues, “We regret any suggestions that we attacked the fan.” The note was not a suggestion. The headline, the picture, and the article did exactly that.

“Editor’s Note”, I think, did nothing but increase the likelihood of a lawsuit. The “Editor’s Note” was full of arrogance and did not include an apology. It didn’t acknowledge the main error in the article, which was that the child had been wearing blackface. Would you be satisfied if you were the parents of the child and already had lawyers lined up? I doubt it.

Ironically, Deadspin used to be owned by Gawker. This media group was sued by Hulk Hogan and forced out of business. Maybe the lesson was not learned the first time.