The New York Times is under fire for a story suggesting that Travis Kelce invented the “fade” haircut.
Prominent black media commentators including retired football legend Shannon Sharpe and former ESPN personality Jemele Hill blasted the Gray Lady for suggesting the Kansas City Chiefs tight end, and Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, had somehow launched the trendy cut.
“The New York Times began Black History Month by referring to the fade as the Travis Kelce,” Sharpe said on his “Nightcap” podcast that he co-hosts with ex-NFL star Chad Ochocinco.
The segment on the podcast was titled: “Did the fade just get gentrified?”
“New York Times, so that’s how you start Black History Month,” Sharpe said, adding that he has been getting the fade haircut since 1986.
“I’m trying to figure out what black barbershop you go in and say let me get the Travis Kelce,” Sharpe said.
Hill, the former co-host of ESPN’s “The Six” edition of SportsCenter who bolted the sports cable network for The Atlantic magazine, scoffed on Friday: “The NYT thinks that Travis Kelce invented the fade.”
She added a facepalming emoji, writing: “When you have zero cultural competency on your staff, this is how you end up with stories like this.”
Another X user, Ken Barnes, wrote: “I have a fade in my fall 1988 college freshman ID photo, over a year before Travis Kelce was born. Can’t wait for the next piece talking about Kelce making the Jheri Curl popular.”
The Jan. 29 story by reporter Alyson Krueger was headlined: “They’ll Take the Travis Kelce — Hairdo, That Is.”
In her article, Krueger quotes barbers in Canada and the United States who told her that dozens of patrons have come in requesting the same hairstyle as the NFL star, whose team plays in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
“Mr. Kelce’s hairstyle, a buzz cut fade, is easy to replicate,” Krueger wrote.
She quotes a 21-year-old college football player at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Tyson Schilling, who said that teammates have been referring to him as “Little Travis” and “Kravis Telce” after he sported the buzz cut.
“The girls also love it,” Schilling told The Times. “At bars I would get a lot of compliments and on social media. It was a pretty big hit.”
The Post has sought comment from the Times.
Hill also hit out at The Sporting News for a story about Swift doing the “swag surfin’” dance while watching the Chiefs play.
Swift was seen doing a version of the dance while she was seated next to Kelce’s mother as they watched the Chiefs defeat the Miami Dolphins at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Jan. 13.
Following the online controversy, The Sporting News added an editor’s note to the story which read: “This article has been updated from its original version with additional context about the origins of ‘Swag Surfin’ in Atlanta.”
“Swag Surfin” is a 2009 song by Atlanta-based rappers Fast Life Yungstaz, also known by their acronym F.L.Y.