A photo of Australian soccer players dressed as Serena and Venus Williams have gained mileage online not in the way the players hoped it would. As they donned costumes to impersonate the tennis superstars in celebration of the end of season, fans slammed them for taking it too far.
Three players of Australia’s Penguin Football Club are now in hot water after they were photographed in blackface and wigs in their attempt to look like Serena and Venus Williams as well as soccer player Aliiir Aliiir. They posted the photo on social media to commemorate the end of season celebrations known as Mad Monday.
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Fans didn’t appreciate the photo they shared and blasted them on Twitter. One user, Francis Gonzalez, expressed his frustration over people’s ignorance about racism.
"Some Australians still have no clue what is considered racist. This Mad Monday "costume" is clearly racist. And I'm a person who is fed up with today's over-the-top political correctness."
Following racist accusations, the three players were immediately reprimanded by their superiors as their club released a statement condemning their actions and apologizing for their lack of judgment. The statement also said the three players meant no harm and were not acting on a racist mindset.
“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.”
However, the statement also said the players acknowledged their actions were unacceptable and were apologetic about the incident. The photo has since been taken down.
This is the second time Serena has been mocked this month, the first of which happened right after her outburst at the US Open. The Herald Sun’s cartoonist Mark Knight drew a cartoon of the tennis player depicting her tantrum during the recent tournament. While many slammed Knight for his seemingly racist drawing, he defended himself by saying what he drew was Serena’s behavior on the court and because she was African American, he drew her that way along with a powerful built and a tutu she fashioned at the time.
During her final match against Naomi Osaka during the US Open, Serena flared up after umpire Carlos Ramos issued her a warning for receiving illegal coaching in the form of hand gestures from her coach. Denying she cheated, she broke her racket out of frustration and got a one-point penalty for it. She accused Ramos of being a thief and later of sexism. Williams was eventually penalized with a game and fined $17,000 for her remarks to the umpire.
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