Kansas City Chiefs initiate ban on racist celebratory practices

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Illustration by Jack Raybuck

The Kansas City Chiefs are banning racist fan practices like wearing feathered headdresses and Native-style face paint from upcoming football games. This decision comes after discussions with local Native populations about cultural sensitivity within the Chiefs community.

A statement from the Chiefs organization says:

“While we have discouraged fans from wearing headdresses for several years, effective immediately, fans will be prohibited from wearing headdresses into the stadium.

Face painting is still allowed for all fans, but any face paint that is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions will be prohibited. This is probably a policy that will require further specificity ahead of the return to Arrowhead. Fans will be asked to remove any American Indian-themed face paint prior to passing security screening outside the stadium.”

Alongside these changes, the Chiefs will be reviewing other problematic practices like “Tomahawk Chop” (renamed the Arrowhead Chop) and the “Drum Deck”.

Regarding their discussions with local Native communities and their input, the Chiefs organization states:

“We are grateful to the members of the working group for their counsel and collaboration, and we look forward to continuing our partnership. In addition to that ongoing collaboration, we recently expanded our efforts through consultation with a national organization that works closely on issues affecting American Indian people and tribes.”

It will be interesting to see how Arrowhead enforces these new policies and to see how such changes are received by fans. Pushback against changes with Washington’s football team has shown that there will always be a percentage of any fandom who will stick by their guns to continue practices that have been universally condemned. Here’s hoping that KC shows the country we’re better than that.

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Categories: Sports