women's basketball

Liz Cambage denies making racist remarks against Nigeria players in controversial scrimmage

Delfin Dioquino

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Liz Cambage denies making racist remarks against Nigeria players in controversial scrimmage
'I did not use racial slurs or refer to anyone as a monkey,' says Australian basketball star Liz Cambage

MANILA, Philippines – Australian basketball star Liz Cambage denied accusations that she directed racist remarks towards Nigerian players during a scrimmage in 2021 in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics.

Nigerian standouts Promise Amukamara and Sarah Ogoke alleged Cambage called them “monkeys” and “spewed racist profanities” during the highly charged game, of which the footage has recently been leaked.

The video showed Cambage rouging up some of the D’Tigress players as she elbowed Ezinne Kalu in the head and slapped Aisha Mohammed in the face.

Mohammed retaliated by running up to Cambage and knocking down the 6-foot-9 center with a punch to the head before the match got halted.

“The circulating video portrays a highly physical game with no officiating, resulting in me being attacked and sustaining a concussion,” Cambage wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, August 9.

“Contrary to false claims, I did not use racial slurs or refer to anyone as a monkey, which is evident from the footage.”

The former captain of the Australia Opals, though, confirmed Cambage made racist remarks.

Jenna O’Hea said in a May 2022 interview that it is “all 100% correct” that Cambage told Nigerian players to “go back to your third-world country.”

Cambage pulled out from the Opals a week before the Olympics due to mental health reasons and has never suited up for Australia since.

Without a national team to play for, Cambage – whose father is Nigerian – claimed in an interview with Bleacher Report released on Monday, August 7, that she is trying to secure a release from the Opals to play for D’Tigress.

“Why does Nigeria want me to leave Australia and go represent them?” said Cambage. “We’re filing for me to leave the Australian team so I can represent Nigeria.”

“I’ve been in cahoots. I’ve been talking with them since all of this happened.”

But Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) vice president Babs Ogunade denied being in contact with Cambage.

“Disregard the news. I don’t know who she’s talking to. Not me and definitely not (NBBF president Ahmadu Musa) Kida,” Ogunade told Nigerian journalist Colin Udoh.

Drafted second overall in the WNBA in 2011, the 31-year-old played for the Tulsa Shock, Dallas Wings, and Los Angeles Sparks over six seasons.

Cambage, who holds the WNBA record for most points scored in a game with 53 points, secured a release from the Sparks in July 2022 and has seen action in the league since.

She currently plays for Israeli club Maccabi Bnot Ashdod. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.