Liz Cambage has denied racially abusing members of the Nigerian national basketball team during a controversial warm-up match ahead of the Olympics.
- Former Opal Jenna O’Hea says Liz Cambage told Nigerian players to return to their “third world country” during an Olympic warm-up match.
- A News Corp report quoted several Nigerian players as saying Cambage also called them ‘monkeys’
- Cambage said the claims were ‘inaccurate and misleading’
A Sunday Telegraph report quoted unnamed members of the Australian and Nigerian squads who played in the match as saying Cambage called his opponents “monkeys” after a physical confrontation.
The allegations came after former Opal Jenna O’Hea told ABC Sport’s Offsiders that Cambage had told Nigerian players to ‘go back to your third world country’ and said Cambage would never play for the club again. ‘Australia.
In a statement posted on Instagram, Cambage denied using racial slurs and intentionally hitting a Nigerian opponent with an elbow.
“I am very disappointed and hurt by the events and accusations that have unfolded in the Australian media. The account of what happened is inaccurate and misleading,” Cambage said.
“After unintentionally fouling a Nigerian player on the pitch, I was then physically assaulted by that player on the touchline of my bench.
“I was punched in the face and pushed to the ground but left.
“Before the game, I asked to take time off because I was concerned about my mental and physical health, which I spoke about publicly.”
The Sunday Telegraph special quoted unnamed Nigerian players as saying Cambage, whose father is Nigerian, called them “monkeys”.
The Telegraph has also obtained video of Cambage’s behind-closed-doors scrum defending by Victoria Macaulay and throwing a vicious elbow into the head and neck of the Nigerian centre.
Cambage would have been knocked out of the game but came back after a timeout and slapped a Nigerian player in the face after getting entangled again, the Nigerian fighting back with a clenched fist as Cambage headed for the bench.
The report quoted anonymous Australian players who were in the scrum, with an Opal saying “there had been so many behavioral issues that had happened before…but that [Vegas] the incident turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, which turned out to be the worst”.
The Telegraph said Opals players were tired of what they perceived to be special treatment Cambage was receiving from Australian superiors, with his former national set-up teammates frustrated as the superstar center arrived late to training sessions. training and team meetings.
Nigerian players were also quoted by the Telegraph as saying Cambage told some of them hours before the game that she wanted to play for Nigeria because the Australian team was racist.