Melbourne Boomers say they will review the way they educate their WNBL players on sensitive social issues amid backlash over Alice Kunek’s “blackface” at post-season celebrations.
Kunek was slammed by fellow national squad member Liz Cambage on social media for featuring in a photograph with her face painted brown, apparently dressed up as rapper Kanye West.
With the Rio Olympics looming later this year, Cambage put national squad unity aside to blast Kunek’s behaviour in a series of tweets.
“I’m am so shocked and disturbed to see this behavior from someone I’m meant to call a “teammate”,” Cambage, whose father is Nigerian, wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
“blackface is disgusting, I honestly have no words.
“People wonder why I have issues with some @BasketballAus teammates, I’ve been dealing with these behavior since we were kids.”
Kunek apologised soon after, saying she never meant to offend any teammates, fans or people in the community.
“People who know me, know that I don’t judge others based on the colour of their skin,” she tweeted on Sunday.
The Melbourne Boomers said they were completely satisfied Kunek didn’t mean any malice in dressing up as her favourite singer and did not think any offence would be taken by her appearance.
General manager Justin Nelson said both she and the club were apologetic for the hurt it caused Cambage and that all steps were being made to advise her that it was an “error in judgement”.
“The club understands the reaction to the photo and is working with Alice and Basketball Australia to ensure that the general public is aware of Alice’s sincere remorse,” he said in a statement on Monday.
“We have personally spoken with Alice and she is understandably very upset, but she will learn from the incident and be a wiser person for it.”
The Boomers said they will review the processes surrounding education to players on social issues.
Cambage is currently playing in China and was unavailable for comment.