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Liz Cambage denies report that she directed slur at Nigerian players

(Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

While playing for the Australian national team, Liz Cambage reportedly directed a racial slur at the Nigerian national team during a closed-door scrimmage ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, according to an investigation by The Daily Telegraph. The WNBA star has denied the allegations.

A video obtained by the Australian newspaper shows Cambage elbowing a Nigerian player in the head and slapping another. Members of the Nigerian team, who spoke with The Daily Telegraph on the condition of anonymity, said Cambage called them “monkeys” and told them to “go back to your third world country.”

The Las Vegas-based practice game was called in the second quarter due to the outburst.

Australian national team basketball captain Jenna O’Hea confirmed an altercation involving Cambage during a tell-all interview with “Offsiders” in early May.

“I can hold my head up high and say that I always loved her, always cared for her, always supported her, always had her back,” said O’Hea of Cambage’s comments that she didn’t feel supported by the Australian national team.

Cambage withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics in July, citing her mental health.

The episode in Las Vegas, according to an Australian teammate who spoke with The Daily Telegraph, was a breaking point for the team.

“There had been so many behavioural issues that had gone on previously that we could write a book, but that (Vegas) incident happened to be the final straw which happened to be the worst one,” the teammate said.

Cambage apologized to the Nigerian team after the incident, but it “wasn’t well received by every player,” according to the report.

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

Cambage responded to the report in a post to her Instagram on Sunday, denying using a racial slur.

“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,” wrote Cambage. “I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating.” The Los Angeles Sparks star also reveals that she asked to sit out the game in question as she was struggling with her mental and physical health.

“I have taken responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred. I genuinely apologised to the Nigerian team and I once again, am sorry that these events are being rehashed.”