The WNBA is making inquiries into an incident from last summer in which Liz Cambage reportedly directed a racial slur at the Nigerian national team during a closed-door scrimmage with Australia.
The Daily Telegraph reported last week that Cambage, who was playing for the Australian national team, elbowed a Nigerian player in the head and slapped another. Members of the Nigerian team interviewed by the newspaper said Cambage called them “monkeys” and told them to “go back to your third-world country.”
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said Tuesday night that the WNBA is “looking into” the incident but that it has been difficult to obtain information.
“When this happened in 2021, Liz wasn’t playing for the WNBA,” Engelbert said, via Winsidr. “We made inquiries, asked for videos, [and the Australian Olympics Team] came out with that she was no longer playing for the team.”
When the new details came to light last week, the WNBA made inquiries again.
“With the information one to two weeks ago, my general counsel’s office is asking what additional information we can get,” she continued. “We’ve made requests, and those inquiries are ongoing. You don’t want to weigh in without having the facts, but we’re certainly looking into the matter.”
Cambage has denied the allegations, saying that she “did not use the racial slur” that has been circulating.
“I have taken responsibility and accountability for my involvement in what occurred,” she wrote on Instagram. “I genuinely apologised to the Nigerian team and I once again, am sorry that these events are being rehashed.”
She withdrew from last summer’s Olympics after the incident, citing her mental health.
In early May, prior to the report in The Daily Telegraph, former Australian national team basketball captain Jenna O’Hea confirmed that there was an altercation with the Nigerian team during the scrimmage during an interview with “Offsiders.”
“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.
According to The Daily Telegraph, one Australian teammate said that the Las Vegas incident was a breaking point.
“There had been so many behavioral 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 is playing with the Los Angeles Sparks this season. The Sparks next play Saturday against the Las Vegas Aces, Cambage’s former team.