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Toowoomba rugby league club investigates Mad Monday ‘blackface’ team photo after furious backlash

Footy club investigates Mad Monday ‘blackface’ team photo allegedly shows players dressing up as sporting legends Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt

  • Hughfield Eagles players reportedly dressed as Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan
  • Offensive ‘blackface’ image was then posted on the club’s rugby league Facebook page
  • Was quickly deleted after community outrage, investigation underway
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A Queensland football club is under investigation after a Mad Monday’s ‘blackface’ team photo was posted online and appears to show players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt.

The photo, which showed representatives from the Highfields Eagles Rugby League Club in Toowoomba, appeared on the club’s Facebook page.

After a backlash from the community, it was quickly deleted.

“The club is aware of the image and allegations and is in communication with the Toowoomba Rugby League to discuss the appropriate course of action,” a Highfields Eagles spokesman said.

Toowoomba Rugby League (TRL) chairman Joe Hannant confirmed the incident is under investigation.

The offending image, posted on Facebook by players from Highfields Eagles Rugby League Club, appears to show players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt on Mad Monday
The offending image, posted on Facebook by players from Highfields Eagles Rugby League Club, appears to show players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt on Mad Monday

The offending image, posted on Facebook by players from Highfields Eagles Rugby League Club, appears to show players dressed as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt on Mad Monday

“The TRL has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to inappropriate behavior of any kind,” he said.

‘We are aware of this alleged incident and have launched an investigation.

‘We are currently in the process of gathering all the necessary information so that we can best determine the appropriate course of action.’

Brothers Rugby League club president and South West Queensland Indigenous community leader Lizzie Adams condemned the Eagles players’ alleged use of blackface.

Mrs Adams, who has campaigned to stamp out racist behavior in the community this year, was shocked by the incident.

“I really don’t know what to say anymore,” Ms. Adams shared Toowoomba Chronicle.

‘With everything that’s been going on lately, when you look and think about the current environment, how is that even happening?

Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time after a glittering career in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls
Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time after a glittering career in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan is widely considered to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time after a glittering 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, winning eight Olympic gold medals
Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is considered by many to be the greatest sprinter of all time, winning eight Olympic gold medals

Jamaican track star Usain Bolt is considered by many to be the greatest sprinter of all time, winning eight Olympic gold medals

“Even if it’s your favorite athlete or player, why would a non-Native person dress like that?”

‘It is completely inappropriate and very insensitive.’

Nor is it the first racist incident to be investigated by the Toowoomba Rugby League this year.

A Pittsworth man has appealed his 10-year ban from the sport after he was caught on video racially taunting a player.

Last month the man pleaded guilty to conduct likely to bring the game into disrepute and breaching material terms of the NRL Code of Conduct.

An appeal against the sentence was heard by the QRL Central Region Appeals Tribunal on 15 September.

The body has chosen to postpone its decision “to consider all the evidence presented”.

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