Controversial Australian basketball star Liz Cambage is now officially under investigation by her country’s federation for a possible ‘breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct’ following her Olympics withdrawal.
Citing mental health concerns, Cambage, who has been involved in race rows and criticized a “white-washed Australia”, pulled out of the upcoming Tokyo Games following allegations of a string of incidents during the Opals’ preparations in Las Vegas.
The foremost allegedly involved a physical and verbal confrontation with members of the Nigerian team during a scrimmage, as part of a game that was played behind closed doors.
For this, Basketball Australia is investigating the 29-year-old’s conduct, as confirmed by a statement on Monday.
The incident involving Liz Cambage that occurred during the behind-closed-doors scrimmage between the Australian Opals and Nigeria is currently under investigation by Basketball Australia’s Integrity Division for a “breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct”, BA says.
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) July 19, 2021
“The circumstances surrounding the incident that occurred during the scrimmage between Nigeria and Australia involving Liz Cambage are currently under investigation for a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct,” it said.
“As Liz has withdrawn from the Olympic Games due to mental health reasons we will not make any comments on the status of the investigation until the matter is concluded.”
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But there have allegedly been others, claim sources close to the Opals’ camp via news.com.au.
More specifically, she was reportedly “seen out” in Sin City and wasn’t in the team hotel for “long periods of time”.
The fracas against Nigeria and other issues are alleged to have privately frustrated Cambage’s teammates for some time, which prompted discussions among the players regarding the center’s future such as her potential removal from the team.
But then just hours after the AOC confirmed the investigation into Cambage, the 6ft 8in basketball star released her withdrawal statement – which has had a “draining effect” on the rest of the Opals – and explained it via an Instagram video.
“Yesterday was literally one of the hardest decisions of my life,” she said.
“But it had been coming. I’ve been having breakdowns in the car park at Whole Foods. Non-stop panic attacks. Hyperventilating. At the thought of going into one of the most high-pressure situations, that is already in a bubble.
“With no fans, no friends. I‘ve never played without fans,” she insisted, while admitting that things “got heated in the Nigeria game”.
Liz Cambage talking about the decision to opt out of the Olympics and the altercation in the Nigeria game on her IG right now. pic.twitter.com/ceAsE9WymF
— Trine ✨ (@trine_np) July 16, 2021
“There was a physical altercation and there were words exchanged, but I’m hearing things that aren’t true at all.
“Everything that happened and everything that was said is on film,” she added, and it is understood that both sides have a copy of Nigerian-descent Cambage’s set-to with the opposition.
Also refuting claims that she had been out in Vegas, the WNBA star protested: “I’ve been in here [her hotel room] and the only time I left this goddamn bubble was for the All-Star game.”
In her absence, the Opals have achieved their first victory over six-time gold medal scooping Team USA since 2010, and received a confidence boost as per being able to beat the elite without their best player and top scorer.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it shows the character of this team,” remarked Opals coach Sandy Brondello, who will now fly to Tokyo with the rest of the squad to begin their Olympics campaign.
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