Liz Cambage, a WNBA star, released an open letter on Instagram disputing reports that she labelled Nigerian players “monkeys” during a session ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
The Australian basketball player, who is currently on the roster of the Los Angeles Sparks, stated that the event was handled privately about a year ago and expressed disappointment with the ongoing charges.
According to a special investigation by The Daily Telegraph, Cambage, 30, was seen on tape elbowing a Nigerian opponent in the head during a closed-door practice match in Las Vegas.
Following the altercation, Australian authorities reportedly terminated the scrimmage early, for which Cambage apologized. The subject is still being reviewed after Nigerian players provided information to the probe.
The incident that took place during the pre-Olympic scrimmage with the Nigerian team was handled privately, almost a year ago.
I am very disappointed and hurt by the events and accusations that have unfolded in the Australian media. The recount of what took place is inaccurate and misleading.
I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating.
After I unintentionally fouled a Nigerian 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.
I truly hope that I can move forward from this incident and apply actionable effort to be my best self.