Serena Williams disrespected in Australia once again, now by footballers in blackface

BTW

If you were having trouble deciphering how Australia felt about Serena Williams following her loss at the U.S. Open final match, trouble no longer.

This week, after last week’s deeply racist cartoon in the Herald Sun went viral, three Australian amateur football players have apologized and brought the Australian Football League (AFL) under fire for wearing blackface to “dress up” as Serena and Venus Williams and Aliir Aliir, a South Sudanese Sydney Swans football star, for a local team event.

According to NITV and screenshots of photos posted of the costumes, the football players all covered themselves with dark makeup, and the players imitating the Williams sisters wore curly black wigs.

Beau Grundy, one of the Tasmanian Penguin Football Club players in the photo, posted the image in a “Mad Monday” Facebook page, as well as on his own personal page. Both images have been taken down.

Across Twitter, people criticized the players and their decision to use blackface to depict Black athletes, while others said the incident pointed to Australia’s larger structural issue with racism and its inability to address such discrimination.

A spokesperson for AFL Tasmania said the organization doesn’t condone blackface, but that “individual clubs” are in charge of their Mad Monday celebrations, described as an event at the end of the football season “often involving heavy drinking and extreme costumes.”

According to HuffPost, the players apologized and have been reprimanded, but Penguin Football Club attempted to defend the players by stating they “never intended to be racist in any way” and just wanted to dress like their sports idols.

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This blackface incident comes just more than a week after Australian illustrator Mark Knight created a cartoon for the country’s Herald Sun regarding Williams’ loss to Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the U.S. Open. Knight depicted Williams in a stereotypical and racist fashion with big lips and a big nose while stomping on her tennis racket; Osaka was illustrated as white and being asked to allow Williams to win. The Sun stood by the illustration.

H/T the Root

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.