Liz Cambage: Basketball star criticizes lack of diversity in Australian Olympic team promotional photos


Cambage, who helped Australia win bronze at the 2012 Olympics and also competed in the 2016 Games, criticized the images in a series of Instagram posts using the hashtag #whitewashedaustralia.

“I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times,” Cambage wrote under a promotional photo of athletes first released by clothing brand Jockey, which sponsors the Australian Olympic team. “HOW DO I WANT TO REPRESENT A COUNTRY THAT DOESN’T EVEN REPRESENT ME?”

In a separate article, Cambage wrote: “You are really doing anything to remove POCs [people of color] forward when black athletes are leading the pack.

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Basketball player Liz Cambage poses during a portrait session in Cairns, Australia on November 25, 2020

Cambage, who is preparing for the start of the WNBA season with the Las Vegas Aces, commented on another promotional photo, writing: “Fake tan doesn’t equal diversity.”

This photo features Indigenous rugby player Maurice Longbottom, who wore a jersey showcasing Australia’s Indigenous heritage. Cambage later clarified that she “wasn’t saying he had a fake tan.”

“I know who Maurice Longbottom is,” she said in a video. “He was the one wearing the native uniform, clearly … I’m talking about the rest of the photo. A POC token [person of color] in a photo is not good enough. Longbottom did not take note of the comments on his Instagram page.

Cambage also posted images of Cathy Freeman winning gold in the 400 meters at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, alongside the caption: “Also just to remind you Australia’s BIGGEST sporting moment was thank you also BLACK INDIGENOUS WOMAN. ”

Australian Olympic athletes, including Maurice Longbottom, second from right, pose during the team's uniform unveiling in Sydney on March 31.
In a statement, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it “recognizes Liz Cambage’s views on this particular photoshoot.

“The athletes put at Jockey’s disposal could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of the athletes who represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

“The AOC, however, has a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of color, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record … We proudly stand up for our diversity track record and there is will have other photoshoots that reflect our great diversity of athletes. ”

In a statement sent to CNN, Jockey Australia said: “Jockey works with a wide range of brand ambassadors across Australia and New Zealand, but recognizes that we have failed to represent our diverse Australian community. in these images of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

“Jockey is committed to supporting and representing all Australians and is proud to support all of our Australian sporting heroes competing in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.”

A separate statement on the company’s website said: “For 145 years, Jockey International has been a leader in accountability when it comes to actively supporting diverse ethnicities, races and backgrounds of communities and individuals. in over 140 countries around the world, including Australia. … We take this issue very seriously and are currently evaluating all of our options. “

The Olympics are scheduled to start on July 23 and end on August 8.

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