Australian basketballers clash over blackface photo

Opal Alice Kunek in black face.
Opal Alice Kunek in black face.

Basketball star Liz Cambage has slammed 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.

"I'm am so shocked and disturbed to see this behavior from someone I'm meant to call a "teammate"," wrote Cambage, whose father is Nigerian. "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."

For her part, 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.

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.

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