Liz Cambage Is Accused Of Calling Nigerian National Team “Monkeys” | The WNBA Is Standing By Her

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

LA Sparks Center Liz Cambage is under fire after some past racially offensive comments and feuds with a national opponent are now resurfacing. This couldn’t come at a worse time with the WNBA season just being a month old. These remarks, which everyone claims to be true, have surfaced since’s Cambage split from her national Australian team. 

According to multiple sources, just under a year ago the Australian national women’s basketball team held a private scrimmage with the Nigerian women’s national basketball team, and it quickly got chippy.

After finding her team down against the Nigeria team in the scrimmage prior to last year’s Olympic Games, Cambage reportedly began playing more physical than one should in a friendly scrimmage. An aggressive Cambage looking to box out for a rebound, swung her elbow against Nigerian center Victoria Macaulay, leaving a deep cut above her collarbone.

Nigerian players were not pleased with what had gone down with Cambage and their teammate. The play that could only be described by a Nigerian player as “malicious,” led to Cambage and another Nigerian opponent getting chippy with one another. Eventually Cambage reportedly slapped an opponent across the face and punches were thrown. 

 

While there isn’t a full confirmation of a whole brawl taking place, it is widely reported that Cambage lost it and started spewing racist words and comments. Cambage allegedly called the team Nigerian “monkeys” and told them to go back to their “third world country”. 

These disparaging comments were reportedly heard from both teams on the court. At the time they decided not the speak on it, and to resolve the conflict in-house. According to Cambage, the conflict was “handled privately, almost a year ago.”

Social Media Moshpit 

Through an Instagram post that she recently put out, Cambage also went on to say that the foul on Macaulay was “unintentional.” Cambage also denied using any racial slurs against the Nigerian team. 

“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,” Cambage said in part.

She went on to blame the refs.

“We did not have professional referees to manage and prioritize both teams’ safety during this highly physical scrimmage,” Cambage wrote in her response. “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 full responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred. I genuinely apologized to the Nigerian team and I once again, am sorry that these events are being rehashed.”

Either Cambage is delusional or both national teams are lying on her.

Though she states that she did nothing that she was accused of, players on both the Nigerian and Australian teams beg to differ.

By their accounts, Cambage was very much guilty of the accusations. Though Cambage is probably the best Australian national basketball player the country could have right now, that means nothing when you cross the boundaries of respect and morality, which prompted Ex-Australian team captain Jenna O’Hea to state that Cambage would never be welcomed to rejoin the Australian national team. 

Back at home, Cambage had the exact opposite treatment from her WNBA family. Before even signing with the L.A. Sparks this past offseason, the organization spoke to her about what happened and were able to forgive her and give her a second chance.

Social media hasn’t been as friendly.

 

WNBA Supports One Of Their Biggest Stars

According to players from the LA Sparks, they have Cambage’s back and fellow Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike, who’s also of Nigerian descent, had this to say.

“Whatever agenda is happening with it resurfacing, that’s other people’s business” Ogwumike said, “Quite frankly, we talked about it before she came to the team. Granted, people have their own accounts of what happened, but we addressed it and we talked about how important it is for us to be together, be transparent, and also empower giving people second chances.”

Though this may not be as big of a concern for the LA Sparks, it doesn’t reflect well on them as an organization. No form of racism or colorization is acceptable, and it directly collides with the WNBA’s principles, regardless of whether Cambage was playing for them. Self-hate isn’t good either. Cambage’s father is Nigerian, which makes the remarks even more puzzling.

The Australian team was flat-out embarrassed and felt like Cambage’s behavior misrepresented who they are as a team and what message they want to represent, which is why they didn’t hesitate to banish the WNBA superstar from their team. Cambage will look to focus on her modeling career and chasing a WNBA championship with the Sparks, Hopefully, she can rebound from these resurfacing events and the WNBA isn’t forced to take some public action.