A group of amateur footy players have been caught donning blackface outfits during their Mad Monday celebrations, dressing up as American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams just a week after the Herald Sun’s ‘racist’ cartoon about Serena went global.
Beau Grundy uploaded the photo to a Facebook page called ‘Mad Monday’, pictured with two other players from the Tasmanian Penguins Football Club, and made it his profile picture.
The caption read: “Williams sisters and Aliir Aliir #madmonday”.
Aliir Aliir is one of a number of South Sudanese players in the AFL, while the Williams sisters are two of the greatest tennis players in the sport’s history.
The picture was removed from Grundy’s profile later on Wednesday.
The controversy comes after the Herald Sun’s cartoon depicting Serena Williams’ confrontation with umpire Carlos Ramos during the US Open final caused outrage and came in for heavy criticism.
Social media users were quick to hammer the football players for continuing a long line of blackface embarrassments in Australia’s local sporting ranks.
“Really don’t know how this still happens. I’m also getting really sick of white people saying it’s not racist. You’ve never been racially vilified, therefore shut up!” tweeted @orileynicholas.
“Not at all surprised to see this. Are we to be met with the usual “didn’t mean to cause offence” or “didn’t know it was racist” fake apologies? Beau Grundy and co need to be shamed for this,” tweeted speak clearly.
“Not understanding #blackface or not agreeing against it isn’t a good enough excuse anymore. But to save yaself some “harassment” from the “overly-sensitive”, just choose another costume. Simple. Try blue-facing & go as a smurf,” @Gavin_Ingham tweeted.
Oh look: a mere week after that racist cartoon of Serena Williams, another blackface scandal hits the Australian press bc white dudes decided to "dress up" like her. Meanwhile, three Aboriginal people died in custody in the same time period. What a nation of racist slow learners.
— Celeste Liddle (@Utopiana) September 19, 2018
Just when you thought we could relax because Australia at least hasn't had a blackface situation for a while…. along comes Tasmania to save the day.
— MGH (@MichelleGHunder) September 19, 2018
@PenguinTwoBlues do you have a comment about the players in your team wearing ‘black-face’..? Disgusting. They should be stood down immediately and permanently. Unless you support racists?
Let this team know what you think about the latest display of repulsive racism. #blackface
— Hayley (@speakcleary) September 19, 2018
The blackface photo also came just two weeks after the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs were slammed for their Mad Monday antics.
Canterbury players were seen stripping off, dancing on tables and throwing up on the streets as their celebrations got out of hand in Sydney.
Why America is so furious with ‘racist’ Serena Williams cartoon
An American professor revealed last week why the US reacted so angrily to Australian cartoonist Mark Knight’s depiction of Serena Williams.
Knight, of Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, posted his illustration on Twitter on a Monday morning and immediately sparked a firestorm of criticism.
Knight defended his controversial cartoon by saying he was simply trying to illustrate Serena’s bad behaviour, but Dr Jason Johnson says the image is inherently racist, even if it wasn’t intended to be.
The professor of politics and journalism at Morgan State University says Knight’s depiction of Serena as a “brooding, big-lipped, almost ape-like” figure was unnecessary.
“If the cartoon was purely about bad behaviour I don’t see why she had to be depicted the way she was. You can have her jumping up and down, whining, crying, whatever — that’s typical for sport … you can depict people as sore losers,” Dr Johnson told 3AW Radio on Tuesday.
“But to depict her in this large, brooding way — even for a cartoonist — is reminiscent about (how) black women in America and black women’s bodies (have been racially portrayed in the past) — especially in comparison to Naomi Osaka who in the back corner is drawn as this lithe, possibly white, looking woman.
“I understand Mark Knight is Australian, consequently his understanding of racial depictions might not be the same as they are in the United States, but I also think as a cartoonist who is writing about an international incident and international figure, I don’t buy that he was completely oblivious to how his work would be perceived either.
“There is a long history in the United States and abroad of depicting African-Americans as less than human. Certainly black women as being broodish and certainly not in any shape, way or form feminine.”