By: Nina Samone
On Monday, May 30th, Los Angeles Sparks Center Liz Cambage, 30, took to social media to defend her name against racism allegations that she claimed were “inaccurate and misleading.”
In a heated scrimmage prior to the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, Cambage was seen scuffling with Nigerian players after elbowing a slapping two different players. During this confrontation, anonymous Nigerian players present at the scene reported Cambage calling them “monkeys” and telling them to “go back to your third world country.”
One anonymous Nigerian player confirmed, “That’s what I recall, the term monkeys, yes. She definitely did use monkeys or monkey.”
The four-time all-star was disappointed to have received this news over the weekend, claiming that the matter had already been handled privately. Cambage, whose own father is Nigerian, denied using any racial slurs.
She posted a lengthy post on her Instagram, saying the details of the incident were not accurate.
“After I unintentionally fouled a Nigerian player on [the] court I was then physically assaulted by this player on the sideline of my bench,” she said. “I was hit in the face and pushed to the ground but I walked away.”
The incident caused Australian officials to end the game prematurely, before the 2nd quarter. Cambage ended up withdrawing from the Summer Olympics before they began on July 23rd, coming just one day after a report from ESPN that Cambage’s future was being evaluated following a “physical altercation,” and “charged verbal exchange” with Nigerian players – however, there were no further details given at the time.
“I have taken responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred,” Cambage said. “I genuinely apologized to the Nigerian team and I once again, am sorry that these events are being rehashed.”
The Daily Telegraph reported that despite her apology a day after the scuffle, it “wasn’t well received by every player.”
Scott, Jelani. May 30th, 2022. SI. “Liz Cambage Denies Directing Racial Slur at Nigerian Players Before Olympics.” <https://www.si.com/wnba/2022/05/31/liz-cambage-denies-racial-slur-nigerian-players-before-olympics>
Morgan, Joe. May 31st, 2022. Fox News. “WNBA’s Liz Cambage denies directing racial slur toward Nigerian players before Tokyo Olympics.” <https://www.foxnews.com/sports/wnbas-liz-cambage-denies-racial-slur-nigerian-players-tokyo-olympics>