AUSTRALIAN Basketball star Liz Cambage, accused of using racial slur against Nigeria’s D’tigress players during Tokyo 2020 scrimmage has denied the allegation.
Cambage was alleged to have called the Nigerian players “monkeys” during a five-minute rant in Las Vegas, which ended in her walking away from her Opals teammates.
The Sunday Telegraph reported it acquired video that also allegedly shows Cambage elbowing a Nigerian player in the head while the two teams faced off in a closed-door practice game in Las Vegas.
Anonymous Nigerian players interviewed by The Daily Telegraph claim Cambage, 30, called the Nigerian players “monkeys” and told them to “go back to your third world country” during the fight.
“I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating,” Cambage who is half Nigerian from her father’s side wrote on Instagram on Sunday.
“After I unintentionally fouled a Nigeria player on court, I was then physically assaulted by this player on the sideline of my bench. I was hit in the face and pushed to the ground but I walked away. Prior to the game, I asked to sit out because I was concerned about my mental and physical health, which I have addressed publicly.
“We did not have professional referees to manage and prioritise both teams’ safety during this highly physical 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.
“I have taken responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred. I genuinely apologised to the Nigerian team and I once again am sorry that these events are being rehashed,” she stated.
Cambage’s outburst led to the end of practice after Australian officials called the game off before the end of the second quarter.
She would later leave Opals team for the Los Angeles Sparks, after she accused the team of racism and stifling her career growth.
Speaking during a recent ABC Sports interview, Cambage she now feels “protected on a level that the Opals, or the Australian team, never gave to me,” and that she felt like the Opals never wanted her “to be the best I can be.”
“I think I’m the most sound and relaxed that I’ve been in a long time,” Cambage said, her legs crossed comfortably. “I’m where I want to be. I’m surrounded by the people I want to be surrounded with, and we’re working hard, ” she added.
Two other Nigerian players on the Los Angeles Sparks teams are the Ogwumike sisters – Nneka and Chinenye who are half Americans. Chinenye is the first Black woman and WNBA player to host a national radio show for ESPN.