Australian basketball star and Las Vegas Aces center Liz Cambage is threatening to boycott the Olympics in Tokyo this summer.
Cambage’s comments came in response to a promotional photoshoot featuring Australian Olympians and Paralympians that didn’t include any athletes of color.
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A post shared by Jockey Australia (@jockey_au)
“HOW AM I MEANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T EVEN REPRESENT ME,” she wrote below the photo, adding a #whitewashedaustralia hashtag.
“y’all really do anything to remove POCs from the forefront when it’s black athletes leading the pack,” she added. “until I see y’all doin more @ausolympicteam imma sit this one out.”
She also took aim at a photo of Australian athletes posing in the country’s Olympic uniforms. In the photo, only one POC is shown.
The Australian Olympic Committee acknowledged Cambage’s point in a statement.
“The athletes made available to Jockey could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games,” the statement read. “The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record.
“We proudly defend our track record on diversity and there will be further photoshoots that reflect our broad diversity of athletes.”
Cambage then took to her Instagram stories to continue to speak out against the advertisements and call out the AOC’s response.
“You can try and twist my words however you want, it’s not going to work,” Cambage said. “Words don’t mean anything to me. Action means something to me.
“The whitewashing is sad. Your black athletes lead you everywhere. Indigenous athletes are some of the best athletes we have and y’all don’t use them at all,” she continued.
“We have a diversity issue. We have an inclusion issue and we have a visibility issue for kids growing up who don’t see anyone that looks like them in magazines, on TV, on the news anywhere.”
This isn’t the first time Cambage has called out her native Australia in regard to race relations. Back in June 2020, Cambage took issue with Australians posting in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd, for which former officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder last month.
“Check out of America, Australia,” she said in her Instagram stories. “We have s— we need to sort right here. We have blood on our hands, we have blood on our hands and we need to fix it.”
“How dare people say Black Lives Matter,” she continued, “when we have the darkest, most twisted, most disgusting past when it comes to Indigenous Australians and the treatment of Indigenous Australians.
“How dare you focus your attention on America.”
Former Australian women’s basketball coach Tom Maher, who coached the team to its first two Olympic medals in 1996 and 2000, did not agree with Cambage’s sentiments about the photos.
“It is inappropriate to make such a big deal out of pretty much nothing,” Maher said, per the Australian. “If I was coach, I wouldn’t entertain any threats at all. If she wants to come, she can come, but if she told me she was going to boycott, I’d say, ‘Good luck, see you later.'”
As for those who were suggesting Cambage was just jealous that she wasn’t included in the Jockey shoot?
“I’m a bit busy with Savage X Fenty, if you haven’t noticed,” Cambage said.