Liz Cambage was reportedly on the nose with her Los Angeles Sparks teammates before her bombshell decision to part ways with the team on Tuesday.
The Sparks announced on Tuesday that they'd agreed to a 'contract divorce' with the 30-year-old Cambage after the Aussie star played just 25 games for the team.
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"It is with support that we share Liz Cambage's decision to terminate her contract with the organisation," managing partner Eric Holoman said in a statement.
"We want what's best for Liz and have agreed to part ways amicably. The Sparks remain excited about our core group and are focused on our run towards a 2022 playoff berth."
According to Kristina Williams of 'Girls Talk Sports TV', Cambage had 'chemistry issues' with her teammates as early as late May.
Williams tweeted on Tuesday that Cambage 'quit' the team and had "made verbal comments about her intentions to leave the Sparks to multiple people within the organisation."
She added: "I would like to clarify that this tweet isn’t directly related to the reason why Liz Cambage and the Sparks parted ways.
"It was reported to give an overall account of some of the things the franchise has faced as of late (incl. her departure)."
I would like to clarify that this tweet isn’t directly related to the reason why Liz Cambage and the Sparks parted ways. It was reported to give an overall account of some of the things the franchise has faced as of late (incl. her departure). There is a thread… https://t.co/jwo52Ce9J4
— Khristina Williams (@Khristina) July 26, 2022
Telling video re-emerges after Liz Cambage bombshell
The bombshell comes amid a tumultuous time for Cambage, who quit playing for the Opals after withdrawing from the Australian team ahead of the Tokyo Olympics when she became embroiled in a racism scandal.
It was claimed that Cambage told Nigerian players to "go back to your third world country" during a pre-Olympics warm-up match and called them 'monkeys'.
Video has since re-emerged on social media showing the telling reaction of Cambage's Sparks teammates Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike (both of Nigerian descent) during an interview earlier in July.
Chiney can be seen rolling her eyes when Cambage answers a question about her recovery from a third bout with Covid-19, while both sisters look highly uncomfortable throughout.
"This interview is from July 21, which was her second to last game as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks," John W. Davis of the Long Beach Post-Telegram wrote on Tuesday.
Writer Lindsay Gibbs commented: "Hindsight, etc. etc., but the body language of her teammates here feels telling."
Hindsight, etc. etc., but the body language of her teammates here feels telling. https://t.co/onI2NGH0Lc
— Lindsay Gibbs (@linzsports) July 26, 2022
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams had previously said that Cambage struggled with conditioning and facing double-and triple-team matchups.
She missed a number of recent games after her third bout with Covid-19 and was listed as out for "return to competition conditioning."
Podcaster Lincoln Anthony Blades wrote on Twitter: “Let’s just call it what it is: the Sparks signed Liz Cambage without notifying their star players (Nneka & Chiney - both Nigerian who KNEW what she did) because they didn’t really give a s*** about/didn’t investigate her beef with the Nigerian team.”
Nneka Ogwumike, who is having an MVP-worthy season, and sister Chiney are Nigerian Americans.
Their parents were born in Nigeria and the four Ogwumike daughters hold dual citizenship.
Nneka, Chiney and Erica Ogwumike, who was drafted in 2020, were all listed on the Nigeria provisional Olympics squad, although Nneka's petition to play was denied.
Coincidentally, Cambage's own father is of Nigerian descent as well, while Cambage's mother is from Australia.
She previously said via social media that she was "disappointed and hurt" about the racism allegations, rejecting the report of the incident as "inaccurate and misleading".
"I did not use the racial slur towards the Nigerian team that has been circulating," she posted on Instagram.
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