Liz Cambage Releases Statement After Poorly Received Interview
Liz Cambage recently gave Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report an interview discussing a wide range of topics including a scrimmage between the Australian and Nigerian national teams during the Tokyo Olympics where Cambage allegedly called a player or players “monkeys”.
Cambage’s interview was fact-checked in real-time on Twitter/X by members of the Nigerian national team, particularly when she mentioned being “in cahoots” with unspecified members of said national team to become a member of the Nigerian team.
Promise Amukamara, a guard for the Nigerian national team, took to Twitter to quote a clip of Cambage’s interview and call her side of the story a lie. At the same time that the interview clips were circulating on social media, a leak of the scrimmage video began to make its way around platforms, including Twitter/X. Even though audio of the scrimmage was extremely difficult to pick up at points, it was evident that the Nigerian players had enough of Cambage’s extremely physical play. Following a play in which Cambage delivered a palm to the face of a Nigerian player, the player whom Cambage hit ran over to the sideline and punched her in the jaw.
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According to reporting from Yahoo, members of the Nigerian national team and the Australian national team have independently gone on the record to say that Cambage did use a racial slur towards the Nigerian players. In her interview with Rooks, Cambage also discussed her brief stint with the LA Sparks, and her side of the story regarding her departure was quickly dismissed by ex-teammate, Jordin Canada.
Canada wrote in a post: “I usually keep to myself and mind my business but Bleacher Report if y’all want the REAL TRUTH, call me.” Following the interview’s poor reception on Twitter/X, Cambage released a statement that attempted to establish that she never called Nigerian players monkeys or used any other racial slurs, and also attempted to change her story about joining the Nigerian team. Cambage said in her statement that she was merely expressing interest, as opposed to actively trying to get on the team, which is not what was conveyed in her sit-down with Rooks.
— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 9, 2023
Cambage has been a lightning rod for controversy during her relatively brief time in the WNBA, dating back to when the Tulsa Shock (now the Dallas Wings) drafted her in 2011. Cambage reportedly did not want to play for Tulsa and opted not to play for the team that year, citing exhaustion. Cambage instead chose to play overseas in China for five years before returning to the team following their relocation to Dallas/Ft. Worth and their rebrand to the Wings.
During the interview, Rooks remarked that Cambage’s exit from the Sparks marked the third time that she was able to force her way from a team, something that the journalist said was a pattern for Cambage. Cambage’s response was to blame it on the way the media covers her, which was a common theme in Cambage’s responses to pointed questions from Rooks.
In their discussion of the interview on Around The Rim, hosts LaChina Robinson and Terrica Foster-Brasby expressed their frustrations with the way Cambage seemed to conduct herself in the interview. Brasby said, “It didn’t feel like there was any accountability for the things that you could control, that Liz could control. There didn’t seem to be much accountability in that for me, and I was just really disappointed.”