Liz Cambage Denies Directing Racial Slur at Nigerian Players Before Olympics
Los Angeles Sparks center Liz Cambage on Monday addressed a recent report alleging the WNBA star used a racial slur during a heated scrimmage with Nigeria prior to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
According to an investigation conducted by The Daily Telegraph, Cambage, 30, was seen on camera participating in a scuffle with members of the Nigerian national team after the Australian center elbowed one opponent in the head and slapped another in the face in a closed-door practice. According to testimony from anonymous Nigerian players, Cambage called the Nigerian players “monkeys” during the fight. She also told them to “go to your third-world countries.”
Cambage, whose father was Nigerian, posted a lengthy Instagram post in which she called the report “inaccurate” and “misleading” and denied using racial slurs. After noting that the incident was handled privately last year, the four-time All-Star expressed her disappointment at the news.
” The incident that occurred during the pre-Olympics scrimmage against the Nigerian team was handled privately almost a year ago,” she said. “I am deeply disappointed and hurt by the accusations and events that have taken place in the Australian media. The Australian media’s recount of events is misleading and inaccurate.
“I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating.”
Cambage then provided her version of events leading up to and after the scrimmage. According to The Daily Telegraph , Cambage’s outburst caused Australian officials to stop the game before the end of the second quarter. Cambage clarified that her role in the fight was different from what is reported in the report.
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“After I unintentionally fouled a Nigerian player on court I was then physically assaulted by this player on the sideline of my bench,” she explained. “I was punched in the face and pushed to my knees, but I walked away. I requested to be absent from the game prior to it because I was concerned about both my mental and physical health. This has been addressed publicly. We didn’t have professional referees to ensure safety and priority during this intense scrimmage.
“This is not an excuse or justification to the events that unfolded or my actions, however, I feel that a full picture of the environment that led to this outcome must be shared.”
Cambage, who is currently in her first season with L.A., withdrew from last year’s Summer Olympics prior to the July 23 start date in an effort to focus on her wellbeing. The withdrawal of the former-Aces star came one day after ESPN reported that the Australia national team was reviewing Cambage’s future with them. This was in response to a “physical altercation” with Nigerian players and a “charged verbal exchange”. However, the details were not disclosed.
Cambage concluded her statement by expressing regret for the incident and her desire to work on her mental health. She also noted that she “genuinely” apologized to the Nigerian team; The Daily Telegraph reported Cambage’s apology a day after the scuffle “wasn’t well received by every player.”
“I have taken responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred,” she said. “I truly apologised for what happened to the Nigerian team. I am sorry that these events are being repeated.” I hope I can learn from this incident and put my best foot forward An overseas star who joined WNBA as the No. 2 overall pick in 2011, Cambage has continued to shine despite playing for four teams across her six seasons. She was named All-WNBA first team after leading the league in scoring in 2018 with Dallas, and earned second-team honors in 2019 with the Aces.
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The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.