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Australian basketball great Andrew Bogut has taken aim at compatriot Liz Cambage's controversial threat to boycott the Olympic Games.
On Friday, Cambage hit out at what she claimed was a lack of racial diversity in Australian Olympic team promotional photos, threatening to sit out the Olympics as a result.
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The two-time Olympian took exception to two separate photos - one released last week showing athletes from Australia's Olympic and Paralympic teams in apparel supplied by sponsor Jockey, but without a person of colour.
The second photo showed athletes at the launch of the Australian team's official uniforms for the Tokyo Olympics.
Cambage's post sparked headlines after she wrote: “Y’all really do anything to remove POCs [people of colour] from the forefront when it’s black athletes leading the pack."
"Until i see y’all doing more @ausolympicteam imma sit this one out."
On Tuesday, the Opals star confirmed that she was "in" for the Tokyo Games, in a stunning backflip on last week's threat.
While many - including the AOC and sponsor Jockey - agreed that there should have been more diversity in the photo shoot - others took exception to the way Cambage publicly aired her grievances.
Former Olympian and NBA star Bogut offered a simple explanation for why there may not have been more Aussie athletes of colour - including Cambage - in the photo shoot.
“Some of our most prominent people of colour, that play for Australia, Patty Mills and Ben Simmons, they’re playing in the best league in the world right now, they can’t even come to that photo shoot," Bogut said on The Basketball Podcast.
“I don’t think Cambage can, she’s probably overseas.
“There’s a lot of different factors that go into it, this is made out like it was a blatant effort to whitewash the photo, to make Australia look white.
“C’mon. Not in today’s day and age, you’d be an idiot if you’re running the AOC to do that, because you’re going to get blow-ups.”
Bogut said he was frustrated with Cambage for making a race issue out of the photo shoot in the first place.
“What frustrates me with this is counting the amount of different skin colours in a photo is just poor form," he added.
“It’s a pretty slippery slope once you start counting.”
Cambage hits back at detractors
The three-time Olympian also added that Cambage's outburst could prove a distraction for the Opals ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Bogut even suggested that Cambage's anger with the Jockey photo shoot may stem from her pervious role with rival underwear brand Bonds, who she fronted an advertising campaign for in 2019.
“Anyone know who @Jockey’s biggest competitor is?” Bogut tweeted. “Anyone have a list of ambassadors for @jockey’s competitor?
“Quick tip: Bonds. Now, research time. All make sense yet?”
Bogut's criticism also sparked a renewal of his long-standing feud with Cambage on social media.
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) May 11, 2021
Cambage's initial post sparked a wave of backlash across Australia, with former basketball coach Tom Maher and tennis great Todd Woodbridge among those to slam it as "inappropriate".
Following confirmation that she won't be boycotting the Olympics, Cambage said on her Instagram story: “There are two people in this world. There are the people who have the balls to stand up and say something and make change — that’s me. I was born for this.
“I am such a narcissist, I am such a psycho b***h that all the hate that you give me, I love it … it makes me go harder, it makes me push for more.
“The second type of people in this world — that’s the people that are intimated and scared and insecure and hide behind fake profiles and talk s**t because you’re too scared to do anything.
“I’m out here talking my s**t with my big-a*** mouth, being a big-old b***h, making change, baby.
“Thankyou for all the messages of love and thankyou for all the messages of hate because the hate turns me on and the love lifts me up.
“I’m not going to stop for no one or nothing. Have a great day.”
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