WNBA’s Liz Cambage accused of insulting Nigerian players

WNBA star Liz Cambage is accused of directing a racial slur at members of the Nigerian national team during a scrum ahead of the Tokyo Olympics last year, according to a report.

Anonymous Nigerian players claim Australian center and Los Angeles Sparks called them ‘monkeys’ and told them to ‘go back to your third world country’ during a closed-door scrimmage, the Daily Telegraph reported (Australia ).

Cambage, 30, allegedly made the comments during an altercation during the scrum. She was reportedly seen elbowing an opposing player in the head and slapping another.

“That’s what I remember, the term monkeys, yes. And go back where you came from,” a Nigerian player told the Telegraph. “She definitely used monkeys or apes.”

“I was on the court. She definitely said go back to your third world country,” another anonymous player added. “I didn’t hear it, but [teammates] confirmed that she was calling us monkeys.

The incident led Australian officials to call the game off just before the end of the second quarter. Cambage, whose father is Nigerian, apologized to the African team after the incident, which was reportedly not well received by the players.

“I think it was bulls—-,” one player said via the outlet. “I don’t think that’s a sincere apology.”

FILE - Liz Cambage (8) of the Las Vegas Aces plays against the Seattle Storm during a WNBA basketball game in Everett, Wash. in this May 15, 2021 file photo.  Half of Australia's Tokyo Games roster, led by Liz Cambage, is currently in the WNBA.
Cambage pulled out of the Olympics to focus on her mental well-being.
AP/Elaine Thompson

“Although she was Australian, we knew she was half Nigerian. So before that it was like she was one of us,” another Nigerian player added. “That was another thing to cut deep, for her to do this and show no remorse.”

Cambage later announced that she was withdrawing from the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics, citing her mental and physical health.

“Relying on daily medication to control my anxiety is not where I want to be right now. Especially when competing on the biggest sporting stage in the world,” she said. written in a statement. “It breaks my heart to announce that I am retiring from the Olympics, but I think it is better for the Opals and for myself.”

The comments from the Nigerian players came after Cambage took aim at the Australian women’s national basketball team earlier this month.

“My heart goes out to those who want to protect me and those who want me to be the best I can be,” Cambage said, via ABC Sport. “And I never felt that at all at the Opals. So, yes, I’m fine.

Cambage, a four-time WNBA All-Star, signed with the Sparks earlier this year. She was selected No. 2 overall by the Tulsa Shock in the 2011 draft.

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