Officials from Australia’s Penguin Football Club issued an apology Wednesday (Sept. 19) after a photo of three of its members donning blackface and mocking Venus and Serena Williams went viral and merited stinging backlash.
“The Penguin Football Club were not aware that three of our players intended to dress in this manner and the incident did not happen at our facilities,” the club posted to its website. “It was not their intention to upset anyone and all they meant to do was dress as one of their sporting idols. Their actions were never intended to be racist in any way.”
The photo in question shows Mitch Stanley and Matt Chamberlain as the Williams sisters, and Beau Grundy as Aliir. The racist photo was posted Monday for the clubs “Mad Monday,” a common end of season celebration, and was immediately taken down.
This is the level of sheer ignorance we are dealing with in Australia when three Tasmanian footy players decided to do a Blackface stunt to make a mockery' of non-white people @alexisohanian @serenawilliams @newscomauHQ pic.twitter.com/RCD0HZuizS
— This Fernandez Rocks?? (@HA_Fernandez) September 19, 2018
The Penguin Football Club noted the players involved were reprimanded “and will be given support to make sure they understand that their behavior was racist and hurtful and that it will not happen again.”
The blatantly racist picture comes just weeks after Australian cartoonist Mark Knight’s illustration depicted a big lipped, overweight Serena throwing a tantrum and jumping on her broken racket, while her opponent Naomi Osaka pleads with the umpire in the distance.
This is Australia…don’t catch you slippin’ up.