Liz Cambage denies calling D'Tigress Monkeys - Nigerian players react on social media

Liz Cambage denies calling D'Tigress Monkeys - Nigerian players react on social media

Tosin Abayomi 07:10 - 09.08.2023

Nigerian players react on social media after Liz Cambage denies calling D'Tigress monkeys.

Following Australia's Liz Cambage's explosive interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report the Nigerian basketball social media space has been on fire.

In a lengthy interview with Taylor Rooks of Bleacher Report, Cambage addressed claims that she racially disparaged Nigerian players during a warm-up game for the Opals' 2021 Olympic campaign.

Cambage confirmed she had been involved in a physical incident during the warm-up game and that there "were words exchanged" before withdrawing from the Tokyo Games due to mental health issues.

The interview has brought back memories of the situation that a lot of people put in the past.

Liz Cambage's initial response to monkey speculation

When the accusation was first made was a statement by Liz CXamage that apologized to the Nigerian team.

She said, "The incident that took place in the pre-Olympic scrimmage with the Nigerian national team was handled privately almost a year ago,

"I am very disappointed and hurt by the events and accusations that have unfolded in the Australian media.

According to Liz Cambage, she is in discussions to leave the Australian team and compete for Nigeria at the Olympics.
According to Liz Cambage, she is in discussions to leave the Australian team and compete for Nigeria at the Olympics.

"The account of what took place is inaccurate and misleading. I did not use the racial slur toward the Nigerian team that has been circulating.

"After I unintentionally fouled a Nigerian player on court, I was then physically assaulted by this player on the sideline of my bench.

"I was hit in the face and pushed to the ground, but I walked away. ... We did not have professional referees to manage and prioritize both teams' safety during this highly physical scrimmage.

"This is not an excuse of justification to the events that unfolded or my actions, however, I feel that a full picture of the environment that led to this outcome must be shared.

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

"I truly hope that I can move forward from this incident and apply actionable effort to be my best self."

Liz Cambage now want to dump Australia for Nigeria after the monkey incident (Taylor Rooks)
Liz Cambage now want to dump Australia for Nigeria after the monkey incident (Taylor Rooks)

Liz Cambage explains D'Tigress monkey chants from her perspective

Cambage spoke on her hesitation to compete at the Tokyo Olympics when asked about the claims and why her side of the story is so different.

She said, “A lot of girls don’t like me and a lot of times I say no to something, people really want to make me look like the issue.

“I never wanted to go into that Olympics. I spent the whole week going into that bubble saying I don’t want to be in the bubble.

"I’ll show you text messages between me and Sandy Brondello [saying] I do not want to go to this Olympics, I do not want to be a part of this Olympics, I do not believe in this Olympics.

“I feel like the Tokyo Olympics is everything against what the true Olympics is. Like the Olympics is about nations coming together, not weird bubbles.

"I’m not a bubble girl. I have anxiety and I need to be able to leave situations like that [snaps fingers]... there is so much pressure.

“This is the pinnacle of sport. This is the Olympics. I’m already struggling mentally and physically. I’m open and honest about everything...

“This one girl that has been saying I called them monkeys... I’ll call you a b***h. I’ll call you a dumb b***h. That’s what I say to people I get angry with,” Cambage said.

“I don’t really lean towards racial insults. That’s not how I go. I’m very pro-Black. I did not say these things. This girl that is saying all these things had a lot to say about me.

“Leak the tapes. I’ve never owned the tapes. Leak the tapes. Y’all want to see the truth, leak the tapes. Everyone in Australia that has seen the tapes, still lying about what is on these tapes, leak the tapes.”

Liz Cambage issues statement after new tape

A section of the tapes has now been revealed on social media which has sparked more wild reactions on social media.

Liz Cambage has issued a statement following the release of an additional video showing their confrontation at a pre-Tokyo Olympics scrimmage.

She denied racist slurs, though, and added that she was "pretty annoyed at all the fake news and lies.

A opposing player was elbowed in the head by Cambage during a practice match in Las Vegas that was played behind closed doors, as seen in the footage

After the altercation, the newly released video shows Cambage leaving in the direction of the Australia bench while also appearing to speak with Nigerian players nearby.

In response to what Cambage stated, a Nigerian player then rushes toward her and appears to punch her as the two teams converge.

The statement by the 31-year-old said, “In light of the circulating footage from the 2021 scrimmage between the Opals and D’Tigress, I want to provide clarity on my recollection of the events.

“Before the scrimmage, I had expressed concerns to Opals staff about the unacceptable playing conditions within the COVID ‘Bubble’ they were imposing.

"The circulating video portrays a highly physical game with no officiating, resulting in me being attacked and sustaining a concussion.

"Contrary to false claims, I did not use racial slurs or refer to anyone as a monkey, which is evident from the footage.

“To set the record straight, I never stated that I had officially joined the Nigerian national team. 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.

“My dedication to fostering positive change in the sport I love remains unwavering. I have always taken pride in representing the game throughout my career.

“I kindly urge the media and fans to fact-check before publishing and to avoid spreading unverified claims. I also send well wishes to all my former teammates. Looking forward to seeing you all on the court.

“Love and light.”

Rena Wakama was appointed Head Coach of D'Tigress just weeks before the start of the tournament.
Rena Wakama was appointed Head Coach of D'Tigress just weeks before the start of the tournament.

Liz Cambage claims Nigeria wants her

In the interview, a statement by Cambage that went viral was her saying the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) want her to dump Australia.

She said, “Like, why does Nigeria want me to leave Australia and represent them? We’re filing for me to leave the Australian team so I can represent Nigeria. I’ve been in cahoots, I’ve been talking with them since all of this happened.

“This is what I mean, people don’t know the truth. I honestly haven’t had one journalist that has written all these lies actually come to me and want my side of the story. There’s a whole tape with the truth out there.

D'Tigress react to Liz Cambage

Nigerian basketball players have taken to social media to debunk the statements by Cambage about the incident and her international allegiance switch.

Promise Amukamara on Twitter said, “She called us Monkeys & told us to go back to our country. Yes she said that!” wrote Amukamara.

“Literally everyone from both teams have the same story BUT her, so y’all do the math! & the only person she has been in “cahoots” w/ was the former coach of our National team & he’s no longer the coach, so there’s that!”

Sarah Ogoke a key player as D'Tigress beat Senegal to win the 2023 FIBA Women's Afrobasket also added, “We are not recruiting you and you definitely spewed racist profanities against us during our scrimmage”.

There are claims that the negotiations for Cambage to switch were made by the former coach but have been shit down since the appointment of Rena Wakama.

The saga involving Cambage is not expected to end soon as many stakeholders are expected to give their opinion going forward.