Liz Cambage Responds to Accusations That She Used a Racial Slur in Scrimmage Against Nigerian Team

A report claims the center spoke down on members of the Nigerian national team, calling them “monkeys” and asking them to “go back to your third-world country."

Los Angeles' Sparks Liz Cambridge sits on bench

Image via Getty/Leon Bennett

Los Angeles' Sparks Liz Cambridge sits on bench

Liz Cambage is denying that she used a racial slur against members of a Nigerian basketball team. 

A report fromthe Sunday Telegraph in Australia reveals that the Los Angeles Sparks center allegedly spoke down on members of the national team, calling them “monkeys” and telling them to “go back to your third-world country,” during a scrimmage in Las Vegas ahead of the Olympics. Video from the day reportedly shows her elbowing a player in the head.

Now Cambage is calling the story is “inaccurate and misleading.”

“The incident that took place in the pre-Olympic scrimmage with the Nigerian national team was handled privately almost a year ago,” Cambage wrote on Instagram. “I am very disappointed and hurt by the events and accusations that have unfolded in the Australian media. The account of what took place is inaccurate and misleading. I did not use the racial slur toward the Nigerian team that has been circulating.”

Cambage wrote that she “unintentionally” fouled a player on the court and was “physically assaulted” on the bench afterward. “I was hit in the face and pushed to the ground, but I walked away. … We did not have professional referees to manage and prioritize 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.”

Cambage continued, explaining that she already apologized to the team over what occurred during the 2021 face-off, which was cancelled before the end of the second quarter, and that she hopes she can move forward from it.

Multiple opposing players, who spoke with the Telegraph with anonymity, claim that Cambage—who is half-Nigerian on her father’s side—used both the term “monkeys” and “third-world country.” Those players claim they didn’t see her apology the following day as genuine.

“Although she’s Australian, we knew she was half Nigerian so before then it was like she was one of us,” a Nigerian player said. “That was another thing to cut deep, for her to do that and not show any remorse at all.”

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