Andrew Bogut slams 'damning' Liz Cambage allegations

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Pictured here, Aussie basketball stars Andrew Bogut and Liz Cambage.
Andrew Bogut says Liz Cambage's mental health concerns are not an excuse for bad behaviour. Pic: Getty

Australian basketball great Andrew Bogut has opened up about the Liz Cambage controversy, labelling accusations against the Opals player as "pretty damning".

Basketball Australia on Monday confirmed that Cambage was under investigation for 'a breach of the integrity framework and code of conduct', following her bombshell withdrawal from the Australian Olympic team last week.

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Cambage announced she would not compete in Tokyo due to mental health concerns, citing anxiety issues around being isolated in a "bubble" in Japan.

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However, Cambage's statement came after reports of a "physical altercation" in a scrimmage against Nigeria, who the Opals were playing in a closed-door Olympics warm-up game.

The WNBA star admitted that she was involved in an altercation with players from Nigeria, but denied reports that she had broken team protocol by going out partying with friends in Las Vegas, where the team was based.

There were reports furious Opals teammates wanted Cambage out of the Olympics squad, with the 29-year-old also accused of verbally abusing Nigerian players.

Bogut said while he understood and empathised with Cambage's mental health concerns, it is never an excuse for poor behaviour.

“The story around it is separating the mental health from the behaviours that you had. I’m not saying she’s using it as an excuse or whatever, but the rumours are pretty damning,” Bogut said on the latest episode of his podcast Rogue Bogues.

The former NBA champion referenced a report from 2BG's James Willis that alleged Cambage used words during the altercation against Nigeria that "you wouldn’t dare repeat".

Liz Camage is pictured with Aussie teammates in this photo before the Olympics.
Liz Camage announced on Friday that she was withdrawing from Australia's Tokyo Olympics campaign. Pic: Getty

“You just can’t excuse those kinds of behaviours, mental health or not," Bogut said.

“That doesn’t excuse you making the comments that I’ve heard, off the record.

“It never gives you an excuse to just go out there and make those kinds of comments, in my opinion.”

Bogut’s podcast co-host Mike Procopio also weighed in on the scandal by calling the allegations against Cambage "despicable".

“From that statement she put out, she is dealing with this big problem so to me if you really care about this player and this girl, the league itself should say, ‘You need to step away and you need to get some help and you need to get back to centre. Then we can get back to basketball,” Procopio said.

Cambage took to social media in the days after the decision to withdraw from the Games to emphatically deny some of the suggestions about her conduct.

Opals basketball star Liz Cambage is seen in this photo.
Basketball Australia have provided more detail about the investigation into Australian Opals star Liz Cambage. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cambage slams 'fake news' about her

The Opals star denied ever leaving the team hotel other than to attend the WNBA All-Star game, which had been cleared by the team, and added that everything that happened during the closed scrimmage was on film.

“I’m pretty annoyed at all the fake news and the lies I’m seeing floating around in news articles and being shown and being asked about," she said.

“I just want to say this decision was coming and I’m happy I finally made it on my own terms. It’s sad that news got leaked yesterday that I didn’t even know about.

“Yeah, things got heated in the Nigeria game. There was a physical altercation and there were words exchanged but I’m hearing things that aren’t true at all, flying around from people in Australia and America which is crazy.

“Everything that happened and everything that was said is on film. I know what happened and I do not appreciate the lies and people constantly trying to tear me down.

“But hey, I’ve been trapped in this room, with no view, with nothing, for a week. Of course I’m going to lose my mind in here, are you serious?"

Cambage returned to the WNBA for the 2021 season after opting not to play in the pandemic-affected 2020 competition.

BA said it would not comment on the investigation until it is over, given Cambage's withdrawal from the Games team due to mental health reasons.

BA's integrity division will run the investigation.

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