It’s 2018, which should imply that we know a few basic things to be true: 1) eating Tide pods is a bad idea, 2) you can wear white whenever you damn well please, and 3) BLACKFACE IS NEVER OK. We’re pretty much good with the first two, but somehow no. 3 is proving more difficult to comprehend.
Anyway, three Australian football players proved to us that we have a long, long way to go on Monday, September 17th when a member of the Australian Penguin Football Club, Beau Grundy, posted a photo of him and his mates wearing full-body blackface. Grundy dressed as Sydney Swans AFL player Aliir Aliir in a red uniform, flanked on either side by Mitch Stanley and Matt Chamberlain as Serena and Venus Williams in curly black wigs and tennis whites.
The photo was taken as part of the Mad Monday celebrations—which, no, doesn’t inspire one to go mad and momentarily forget that blackface is offensive and horrible, but rather commemorate the end of the AFL’s current season. The Penguin Football Club has since released a statement condemning the actions of their players and explaining that they did not intend to offend anyone.
The incident comes just weeks after a cartoonist for Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Mark Knight, sparked international outrage for a racist portrayal of Williams following the controversy at the U.S. Open, where she was fined and penalized for her language when speaking with the umpire over allegations of cheating by communicating with her coach off court.
It’s pretty hard to believe that anyone could be quite that thoughtless, but then again, Halloween is coming and there’s sadly little doubt we’ll be having this conversation again.