England ladies striker Toni Duggan, who is a key ambassador for the anti-racism campaign Kick It Out, has been caught up in a 'blacking up' controversy.
The 22-year-old, who is also well known for speaking at schools as part of her work for Kick It Out, faces a backlash after blacking up her face for a fancy dress party.
Duggan is currently in Greece with the England squad competing in the Cyprus Cup and went to the party dressed as famous black actress Whoopi Goldberg.
Representing the popular 1992 film Sister Act, Duggan appeared in a photo posted on Instagram which has since been removed from the social media site.
No doubt simply thoughtless, the Manchester City star appeared very ill-judged - especially given her important role as part of a high-profile campaign that seeks to stop racism in sport.
City and England team-mates Steph Houghton and Jill Scott also appear in the controversial photograph dressed as characters from Disney's 101 Dalmatians animated film.
Duggan must have quickly realised her error of judgement as the photograph was swiftly removed.
However, it was on the internet for long enough to prompt outrage as people took to Instagram and Twitter to criticise the footballer's decision to 'black up' for a social media-posted image.
Shout out to England Women's International Footballer Toni Duggan who blacked up for fancy dress last night pic.twitter.com/K8BIERMvF7
— Gareth David (@grthdvd) March 3, 2014
Kick it Out say Toni Duggan will remain as a KIO ambassador following pictures of her with a painted black face on England duty — alistair magowan (@alistairmagowan) March 5, 2014
And the bonehead of the week award goes to.... (drum roll)... Toni Duggan! http://t.co/EMJcbN6tkF
— Matt Butler (@mattbutler503) March 5, 2014
With regard to the Toni Duggan incident are we losing our sense of humour as a nation or am i just a dinosaur? — Riley Cullum (@aceofspies64) March 5, 2014
Duggan told The Mirror as an apology: "I am very sorry for my actions and for any offence I may have caused.
"I would like to apologise wholeheartedly to England, my club and anyone else that I may have offended.
"I am proud to be a Next 20 ambassador for Kick It Out and take this role very seriously for an organisation that does such good work."
A spokesperson for the England team said that they were aware of the situation but that the matter was to be dealt with internally.
As the above Tweet says, is this a sense of humour failure or an offensive and tasteless incident? Should Duggan have felt the need to apologise?
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