Opals star Cayla George reveals why she NEVER wants anything to do with Liz Cambage again after basketballer’s awful seven-word slur kicked off shocking brawl with Nigerian team
Opals star Cayla George has not spoken to Liz Cambage since the latter withdrew from the Tokyo Olympics last summer and has revealed her frustration at her former teammate escaping any sanctions.
Cambage cited mental health reasons and said she felt ‘at breaking point’ when she left the Opals training camp last summer, just a month before the basketball tournament was set to start.
The 30-year-old was also involved in an altercation during a warm-up game against Nigeria in Las Vegas in July, during which it has since emerged she told her opponents to ‘go back to your third world country’.
Cayla George was left upset after Liz Cambage wasn’t fined nor suspended by Cricket Australia despite using a racial slur last year
The incident was subsequently probed by Basketball Australia, which formally reprimanded Cambage but stopped short of handing out a fine and a suspension.
George, who has ‘absolutely not’ spoken to the WNBA star said she was left upset by the outcome of the investigation.
‘When someone does something and they don’t really have any repercussions for it [it’s unfair],’ she told SEN 1170 Call Time on Friday.
‘The only repercussions were put on all of us who actually tried to protect and do the most respectful thing […] We are the ones that felt the repercussions and not the person that actually did the deed.
Cambage allegedly told Nigerian players to ‘go back to their third world’ country during a warm-up game last summer ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Cambage (centre) pulled of the Opals squad just before the Tokyo Olympics last year
‘Then that’s where I’ve got an issue because we’re the ones that have suffered and we didn’t do anything wrong.’
Cambage’s sudden withdrawal overshadowed the Opals’ preparation for the Olympics and took a significant emotional toll on her teammates.
Earlier this month, former Australia captain Jenna O’Hea admitted to seeing a psychologist to cope with the fallout and revealed the incident had played a major role in her decision to retire from basketball in March.
Former Opals captain Jenna O’Hea revealed she was scarred by the incident involving former teammate Liz Cambage ahead of the Tokyo Olympics last year
George (right) confirmed O’Hea’s version of events and said the incident had been a trauma
‘To be honest, I saw a sports psych for months afterwards trying to deal with it all and I do think that that’s part of the reason why I have retired,’ she told SEN.
‘It took a huge toll on me and was really difficult […] I don’t think I’ll ever fully process it to be honest.’
Speaking to ABC’s Offsiders, O’Hea also confirmed Cambage had used a racial slur and George confirmed her version of events.
‘There were a lot of rumours floating around about what happened, but that kind of cleared up with what Jenna said,’ she added.
Aussie ex-NBA star Andrew Bogut said what O’Hea revealed was only ‘the PG version’ of what Cambage allegedly said and the uncensored slur is ‘beyond despicable’
‘That’s really what happened, and it was pretty traumatic.
‘It’s just not something that you forget easily.’
Damning as O’Hea’s revelations were, former NBA star Andrew Bogut said she had barely scratched the surface of the incident.
‘You’ve just got the PG version. There was much more than than,’ he told radio station 2GB.
Cambage said she feels a lot more protected in the WNBA than she ever was with the Opals
‘It’s beyond despicable what was said and I truly believe if that was anyone else, we’d hear much more about it.
‘There’s much more in there that you can’t say on radio […] there were some other words used that I would never repeat, that I would never say, to be honest with you.’
Cambage, meanwhile, has she insisted she had ‘zero’ interest in representing Australia at the Women’s World Cup in Sydney later this year. She also slammed Basketball Australia for not offering her the same degree of protection she feels she has received in the WNBA.