A photo of Toronto Maple Leafs centre Tyler Bozak wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume appeared on his Twitter account Tuesday night.
The photo, which showed Bozak dressed as Michael Jackson and grabbing his groin area to replicate a familiar dance move by the pop icon, was removed from his account.
After receiving a flurry of criticism on Twitter, Bozak posted another tweet explaining that the costume was a tribute to the late singer.
"That's a tribute to one of my fave artists. For anyone saying its racist is crazy!" tweeted Bozak.
Bozak isn't the first hockey player to be criticized for wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume.
Last year a photo of Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres wearing blackface while dressed as rapper Jay-Z at a Halloween party appeared online.