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


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

  • Highfields Eagles players allegedly dressed up as Usain Bolt and Michael Jordan
  • Offensive ‘blackface’ photo then posted on club’s rugby league Facebook page
  • Was swiftly deleted following community outrage, investigation is underway

A Queensland footy club is under investigation after a Mad Monday ‘blackface’ team photo was posted online appearing to feature players dressed up as Michael Jordan and Usain Bolt.

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

Following community backlash, it was quickly deleted. 

‘The club is aware of the image and the allegations and is in communication with 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 the 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 behaviour of any nature,’ he said.

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

‘We are currently in the process of collecting all the necessary information needed 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 alleged use of blackface by the Eagles players.

Ms Adams, who has led a campaign to stamp out racist behaviour in the community this year, was appalled by the incident.

‘I really don’t know what to say anymore,’ Ms Adams told the Toowoomba Chronicle.

‘With all that has been going on lately, when you look and think about the current environment, how does this even happen?

Michael Jordan is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever basketballers following a glittering career in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan is widely regarded as one of the greatest ever basketballers following 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

‘Even if that is your favourite athlete or player, why would a non-Indigenous person dress up like that?

‘It’s completely inappropriate and very insensitive.’

It also isn’t 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 which is likely to bring the game into disrepute and breaching material terms of the NRL Code of Conduct.

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

The body has opted to adjourn its decision ‘to consider all evidence presented’.

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