Liz Cambage attempted to “set the record straight” on her relationship with the Nigeria women’s national team after receiving blowback for her interview Monday with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks.
The former WNBA star issued a statement on social media in which she continued to deny ever directing a racial slur at Nigerian players, despite reports to the contrary from the Nigerian players themselves. Cambage also looked to clarify her comments on potentially joining the Nigeria team.
During her interview with Bleacher Report, Cambage denied using a slur during a pre-Olympics scrimmage with the Australia national basketball team in 2021. Instead, she claimed she is being used as a “scapegoat.”
“Why does Nigeria want me to leave Australia and go and represent them?” said Cambage, whose father is Nigerian. “We’re filing for me to leave the Australian team, so I can represent Nigeria. I’ve been in cahoots, I’ve been talking to them since all of this happened. This is what I mean, people don’t know the truth.”
After the interview, Nigerian players Promise Amukamara and Sarah Ogoke both took to social media to refute Cambage’s assertions.
“We are not recruiting you and you definitely spewed racist profanities against us during our scrimmage,” Ogoke wrote.
Also after the interview, a video of the scrimmage circulated on social media, which shows Cambage hitting a Nigeria player in the head during a play, followed by the Nigerian player charging toward Cambage and knocking her down.
“The circulating video portrays a highly physical game with no officiating, resulting in me being attacked and sustaining a concussion,” Cambage said in her statement. “Contrary to false claims I did not use racial slurs or refer to anyone as a monkey, which is evident from the footage.”
As for Cambage’s desire to play for Nigeria, Nigerian basketball officials have denied speaking with Cambage about playing for the national team, ESPN contributor Colin Udoh reported Tuesday.
“To set the record straight, I never stated that I had officially joined the Nigerian national team,” Cambage said in her statement. “Instead, I expressed my interest in joining the team and representing Nigeria. I had discussions with staff members about the necessary steps to become eligible, and thought I was doing them. I extend my best wishes to all players on D’Tigress.”
pic.twitter.com/tYdQU4wGvG— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) August 9, 2023