Australian sport has been rocked by another racism controversy, with basketball star Liz Cambage slamming fellow Opal Alice Kunek for featuring in a photograph with her face painted brown.
Kunek, 25, posted a picture of herself on Instagram on Sunday, dressed up in ripped white clothes, a beanie and painted face alongside her Melbourne Boomers teammate Tess Madgen, who was also in fancy dress.
Cambage put national squad unity aside to blast Kunek’s behaviour in a series of tweets.
Kunek delivered an apology within an hour of Cambage’s missive.
“I am so unbelievably sorry to all my followers who were offended my by previous post. It was never my intention to offend anyone at all. It was an honest mistake,” Kunek posted on Instagram.
“I know it wasn’t meant to offend anybody,” Jackson told Fairfax Media.
“It was a judgement call that in hindsight she wouldn’t do again.
“I feel for Alice as I know how devastated she is right now and as a teammate of hers in the past I know it’s a really unfortunate situation and she will learn from this.”
The incident follows crowd booing of AFL legend Adam Goodes through season 2015 and the release of an anti-racism ad, in which sport stars including Cambage say: “Racism. It stops with me.” (Watch it here.)
The incident triggered a torrent of abuse for Cambage, who later posted about it on Twitter.
Blackface is considered a relic of last-century minstrel shows, which featured unfortunate lampooning of black Americans.
The act of wearing blackface is regarded by many as highly offensive.
It’s not the first time Cambage, 24, has attacked members of the national team on social media.
In July last year, Cambage was dropped for the Opals’ Olympic Games qualifiers after working at the Splendour In The Grass music festival over a training camp.
Fellow Opal Rachel Jarry criticised the centre’s decision. Cambage responded on Facebook by calling a characterisation of the pair as good friends as a “sick joke”.
She later deleted that post.
Kunek also deleted her initial post, replacing it with a similar picture without the face paint.