Cambage makes stand for diverse Australia

Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:48am EDT
 
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia has a good chance to clinch gold in the women's basketball at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics but the nation is unlikely to win any medals for racial tolerance, according to outspoken center Liz Cambage.

The imposing 6-foot-8-inch (2.03m) Cambage has never shied away from confrontation, whether staring down the world's best on court or battling with social media trolls in her downtime.

In February, Cambage felt moved to publicly call out one of her national team mates for wearing 'blackface' at post-season celebrations for her Melbourne basketball club.

While humiliating for Australia forward Alice Kunek, who said her costume was intended to be a tribute to American hip-hop icon Kanye West, the episode was also bruising for Cambage.

The 24-year-old, whose father is Nigerian, was bombarded with abuse on her social media accounts for being too 'thin-skinned' after she posted that she was 'shocked and disturbed' by her team mate's action.

"If I don't call (racism) out, who's going to do it?" Cambage, who won bronze with Australia's 'Opals' at London, said in an interview with Reuters.

"People are scared to take a stand. If you do take a stand you receive backlash.

"I guess I'm lucky I learned quite young not to really care what people say. I've learnt young to take a stand if I feel like something's wrong.   Continued...

 
Australia's Liz Cambage celebrates with fans after the women's bronze medal basketball match against Russia at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 11, 2012.              REUTERS/Sergio Perez