Footy club investigates Mad Monday ‘blackface’ team photos showing players dressed like sporting legends Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt
Photos of Highfields Eagles players dressed as Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan in ‘blackface’ posted on the club’s rugby league Facebook page, quickly deleted after community outrage, investigation underway
A Queensland footy club is under investigation after a Mad Monday ‘blackface’ team photo was posted online to show players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt.
The photo, which shows representatives of Toowoomba’s Highfields Eagles rugby league club, appeared on the club’s Facebook page.
Following community backlash, it was quickly removed.
A Highfields Eagles spokesman said: ‘The club is aware of the images and allegations and is in contact with the Toowoomba Rugby League to discuss appropriate action.
Toowoomba Rugby League (TRL) chairman Joe Hannant confirmed the incident remains under investigation.
The offending image, posted on Facebook by players at Highfields Eagles Rugby League Club, shows the players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt during Mad Monday.
“TRL has a zero-tolerance policy for inappropriate behavior of any nature,” he said.
‘We are aware of the alleged incident and have started an investigation.
‘We are currently in the process of gathering all the necessary information so that we can determine the appropriate course of action.’
Brothers rugby league club president and southwest Queensland Aboriginal community leader Lizzie Adams has condemned the alleged use of blackface by Eagles players.
Mrs Adams, who this year led a campaign to end racist behavior in the community, was shocked by the incident.
‘I don’t really know what else to say,’ Ms Adams told the Toowoomba Chronicle.
‘What’s going on lately, when you look at the current environment and think, how does this happen?
Michael Jordan is regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, after a brilliant career in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls.
Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is considered by many to be the greatest sprinter of all time, having won eight Olympic gold medals.
‘Even if your favorite sportsman or player, then why would a non-tribal wear such clothes?
‘This is completely inappropriate and highly insensitive.’
Nor is Toowoomba the first racist incident investigated by the Rugby League this year.
A Pittsworth man has appealed his 10-year ban from the game after being caught on video racially taunting a player.
Last month the man pleaded guilty to conduct that could potentially bring the game into disrespect and breach material terms of the NRL Code of Conduct.
An appeal against the sentence was heard by the QRL Central Region Appellate Tribunal on 15 September.
The agency decided to postpone the decision to ‘consider all the evidence presented’.