Sports Blog Staff Terminated After Calling Child Fan Racist

( – The sports and news site Deadspin laid off its entire staff on Monday after its parent company, G/O Media, sold the site to another company.

In a March 18 memo to Deadspin staff, G/O Media CEO Jim Spandfeller said the company had been contacted by the newly formed European digital media company Lineup Publishing, which wanted to include Deadspin in its media holdings.

The board of G/O Media accepted the offer, Spanfeller wrote. He explained that the decision to sell Deadspin to Lineup Publishing stemmed from a variety of factors, including Lineup’s editorial plans for the site, competition in the sports journalism field, and the profit G/O Media would make from the sale.

According to a spokesperson from G/O Media, the layoffs affected 11 staffers.

Spanfeller said in his memo that while Lineup praised the site’s “unique voice,” the company planned to take the outlet in a different direction regarding Deadspin’s “overall sports coverage.” This new direction would require laying off the current staff.

Late last year, Spanfeller informed outlets owned by G/O Media that in prioritizing its resources, the company was reviewing its portfolio and operations.

It is unclear if the sale of Deadspin had anything to do with the lawsuit brought against the outlet last month.

In February, the family of a 9-year-old Kansas City Chiefs fan sued Deadspin over a November article that featured the boy in Native American garb with his face painted black and red.

Deadspin senior writer Carron Phillips included a photo showing just the black side of the boy’s face and accused him of wearing “blackface.”

The boy’s parents, Raul and Shannon Armenta, accused the outlet of defamation for selectively choosing an image of their son to claim racism.

Deadspin updated the article and included an editor’s note apologizing for “any suggestion that we were attacking the fan.”

The layoffs at Deadspin are the latest in the online news industry. So far this year, multiple news outlets, including BuzzFeed and Vice Media, have laid off staff. Online outlet The Messenger closed down entirely.

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