Liz Cambage, Australian basketball star, has taken to social media to criticise a lack of racial diversity in recent Australian Olympic Committee photoshoots, indicating she may boycott the Tokyo games.
Cambage is a member of the Australian Opals basketball team, and has played in a number of elite leagues including the WNBL, where she played for the Southside Flyers for the 2020-2021 season. She also plays for the Las Vegas Aces in the American WNBA.
Cambage shared an image of a recent Jockey campaign featuring Olympian and Paralympians, all of whom are white.
Jockey is the official underwear sponsor of the Australian team.
In an Instagram story, Cambage wrote, “If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times.”
“HOW AM I MEANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T EVEN REPRESENT ME #whitewashedaustralia.”
She then shared an image posted by the Australian Olympic Team’s Instagram, which had almost all white athletes, with exception of Maurice Longbottom. Longbottom, a rugby sevens star, is Indigenous.
That picture was captioned, “also fake tan doesn’t equal diversity.”
The caption that indicated she may consider boycotting this year’s games was posted on a black screen, and read, “y’all really do anything to remove POCs from the forefront when it’s black athletes leading the pack.”
“Until i see y’all doing more @ausolympicteam imma sit this one out.”
After that, she shared a video of Cathy Freeman’s 2000 Olympics gold medal win, writing “also just to remind you Australia’s GREATEST sporting moment was thanks too BLACK INDIGENOUS WOMAN.”
The Australian Olympic Committee responded in a statement, saying that the athletes in the Jockey shoot should have “better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games.”
“The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record.”
“Tomorrow the Annual General Meeting will consider a change to the AOC Constitution which will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island representation on our Athletes’ Commission. Next month we will launch our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan following lengthy consultation with our Indigenous Advisory Committee.”
“Our Olympic Team for Tokyo, as it did in Rio, will consist of more women than men.”
“We proudly defend our track record on diversity and there will be further photo shoots that reflect our broad diversity of athletes.”
“With regard to this photo shoot however, we acknowledge while proud of the athletes involved and proud of our association with Jockey, it should have better reflected the diversity of our Team.”
Jockey said in a statement to Wide World of Sports that they “work with a range of brand ambassadors across Australia and New Zealand, but acknowledge that we short in representing our diverse Australian community in these images of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
Featured Image: YouTube/ChrisJohnsonHoops
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