Taylor Swift did the near impossible in 2023.
Yes, she broke all the records pop culture had to offer during the past 12 months, from her iconic concert tour to crushing the box office as an encore.
This was something different and similarly impressive given the current culture wars.
Swift dropped the political posturing she embraced following the election of President Donald Trump. She toured the country, transforming city after city into Swiftie hubs in the process. And she kept politics off the stage and out of her social media musings.
It’s a stark change from the performer we saw in “Miss Americana,” one itching to promote the progressive cause.
Now, it’s time for Swift to speak up.
Loudly. And it has nothing to do with politics.
Swift’s romance with Kansas City Chiefs’ star Travis Kelce has become a cultural obsession. Did she cheer him from the press box this week? Have they shared their first public kiss yet? What does his mother think of their relationship?
Swift has played along, becoming the public face of the team’s fiery fandom.
One of its youngest members needs her now more than ever.
A 9-year-old Chiefs fan attended the Nov. 26 home game dressed in a Native American headdress and black and red face paint. The team’s colors are black and red, and face painting remains a beloved part of sports fandom.
Except a writer for the sports news site Deadspin turned that innocent act into something sinister.
Carron J. Phillips slammed little Holden Armenta as a racist and demanded the NFL address the matter. The author even used an image of the lad’s profile on social media, showing only the black part of his face paint.
“It takes a lot to disrespect two groups of people at once. But on Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas, a Kansas City Chiefs fan found a way to hate black people and the Native Americans at the same time.”
It’s the kind of warped journalism that broke the public’s bond with the Fourth Estate. And the blowback to Phillips’ piece was profound. Social media savaged his reportage, and while Phillips initially doubled down on his narrative he eventually removed his Tweets on the subject.
It gets worse for the journalist.
The child, it turns out, has Native American ancestry, and his parents have lawyered up to force Deadspin to remove the story in question.
Still, many people aren’t aware of the cruel attack on a child perpetrated by a sizable news site. The “racist” label might stick to him, regardless of his innocence.
It’s why the “biggest” Chiefs fan in the country needs to speak out in the boy’s defense.
Swift could crush Deadspin’s narrative by publicly embracing young Holden. She should use social media to shame Deadspin once and for all, and it would be a massive news story, far bigger than it is now.
Dan Le Batard defended Deadspin smearing a little kid because he said you should never use the red and black combination on your face, no matter what, because it's racist.
Also, here is Dan Le Batard last year: pic.twitter.com/0yIHLfU3gS
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) November 29, 2023
Enter “Holden Armenta” into the Google News search engine, and you’ll see most of the major news outlets have ignored the story up until now. CNN. The Washington Post. The New York Times.
They’d rather not reveal how low a fellow journalist sunk.
Swift would change that in a nanosecond. It would be front-page news, where it belongs. The child would have the ultimate heroine by his side, and the next time a journalist thought about smearing a child he or she might think twice about it.
This shouldn’t be political. It’s a child we’re talking about, someone who never deserved to be singled out by the press.
Swift may reclaim her political brand in 2024 after temporarily taking a knee. It’s an election year, and the pressure to drag President Joe Biden over the finish line, again, will be intense.
She’ll likely do just that.
For now, she should use her voice to defend a boy dragged through the mud by the press. It’s the right thing to do for anyone, let alone a fellow Chiefs fan.