SYDNEY, Australia – Another racist incident is making headlines in Australia where three football players dressed in blackface for end-of-season celebrations, commonly referred to as “Mad Monday.”
Photographs of the costumes surfaced on Facebook on Thursday, drawing immediate outrage from social media users.
“Some Australians still have no clue what is considered racist,” Twitter user Francis Gonzalez tweeted. “This Mad Monday “costume” is clearly racist. And I’m a person who is fed up with today’s over-the-top political correctness.”
The stunt comes just days after Australian newspaper Herald Sun published a racist and sexist caricature of Serena Williams after the tennis legend’s loss to Naomi Osaka in the U.S. Open women’s final.
The newspaper doubled down on its support for cartoonist Mark Knight by reprinting the picture of Williams on its front page the following day.
The latest racist incident involving players from the Penguin Football Club has left many Australians setting their “days without blackface incident in Australia” boards back to zero again, as many Twitter users quipped.
In a statement to HuffPost, Penguin Football Club said it was not aware the players “intended to dress in this manner” and that their behavior was “unacceptable in this day and age.”
While the trio have been reprimanded, the club insisted that their “actions were never intended to be racist in any way” and “all they meant to do was dress as one of their sporting idols.”
The players have apologized, and the league said it has put in place strategies “to ensure that this completely unacceptable behavior never happens again.”
AFL Tasmania, the state’s recognized AFL organization, told HuffPost that it vehemently disapproved of the behavior.
“We will be working with the league and club to get more information and to see how we can assist in providing education for the players,” CEO Trisha squires said.
Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Aboriginal activist Michael Mansell said the football club had to take “responsibility for any racist, sexist or offensive behavior.”
“People enjoy playing their sports, but they are entertaining in front of the public and therefore they need to acknowledge the values that the public expects them to adhere to,” he said. “This sort of racist behavior is offensive to most reasonable people.”
Thursday’s incident isn’t the first time an AFL club has made headlines for dressing up in blackface.
In 2016 players from a suburban club in Melbourne dressed up as various African-American singers at a party where they were encouraged to dress as their favorite recording artists.