Fans of the Kansas City Chiefs are banned from wearing headdresses or Native American-themed face paint at the Thursday game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The story: This year’s NFL season starts Thursday with the Chiefs beginning their Super Bowl title defense a playoff rematch from January against the Houston Texans. A total of 16,000 fans will be allowed to attend the game in-person.
The team banned attendees from donning headdresses and certain types of face paint for the season in late August. Anyone who arrives at the game will be asked to remove “any face paint that is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions,” a statement from the team said.
The reigning Super Bowl champions also said they will look into their pre-game drum ceremony and the “Arrowhead Chop,” a one-armed gesture accompanied by a war chant.
Why? The change comes as part of a racial justice movement amid ongoing protests against racial injustice and police brutality. Many teams came under intense scrutiny for their names and mascots, forcing the Washington Redskins to drop their nickname.
A student at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, suggested that the team is appropriating Native American culture.
“Using this mascot and having this fan base of predominantly white people wearing face paint and headdresses and doing the tomahawk chop, and it energizes them and gives them this sense of power, and then thinking there is nothing wrong with doing that is just mind-boggling to me,” said former student government president William Wilkinson, adding that the team should also change its name
“It dehumanizes us and gives us Native Americans this picture of being this savage beast that is hungry for fighting when in real life we are nothing like that,” he said.
Kevin Allis, CEO of the National Congress of American Indians said the team’s pre-game traditions misportray American Indians. “When you see this on TV or in person, this distortion in kind of dehumanizing imagery has lasting negative impacts for us,” he told KCUR-FM earlier this year.
One Chiefs fan, Ty Rowton, told Fox News that he is not happy with the changes and suggested that he will place duct tape on his face with Bible verses across it. He also indicated that he will paint an arrowhead on his head and put on a cape signed by the players, which is what he usually wears when attending games.
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