Former Australian NBA player Andrew Bogut has expressed his frustration with Opals centre Liz Cambage for “counting the amount of different skin colours in a photo”.
Cambage criticised the Australian Olympic Committee on Friday for its lack of diversity in their promotional content, with no athletes of colour featured in Jockey’s underwear shoot and only one of what she described as a “token” Indigenous athlete, appearing in the unveiling of the team uniform.
On the same day the AOC released a statement acknowledging Cambage’s point and conceded they “should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia.”
Speaking on his podcast, Bogut said it’s a “slippery slope” when narrowing in on representation and offered reasons for the AOC’s lack of diversity.
“What frustrates me with this is counting the amount of different skin colours in a photo is just poor form,” he said.
“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.
“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.
“Come on. 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.
“Playing devil’s advocate, are we now going to have team photos based on population (percentages)?
“It’s just absolutely ridiculous.”
Bogut said he did not believe the AOC’s lack of representation was an issue and stated that it would be impossible to portray the Australian population in one photo.
“If you showed up for the photo and someone said, ‘You’re a bit too dark for this photo,’ then I’m right there with you, f*** that, that’s bullshit. But I just feel like this is a non-issue,” he said.
“How do you structure this in the future? So the AOC says, ‘OK Liz, we take what you say, you’re right, how do we fix this? What’s the formula? Percentage of population in Australia? Percentage of athletes that are representing Australia at the Olympics?’
“There’s going to be more analytics in that than f***ing the NBA analytics.”
Cambage responded to Bogut’s comments on Twitter:
To which Bogut replied:
Cambage: ‘I’m in baby’
Cambage took to her social media on Tuesday to announce that, after speaking with head coach Sandy Brondello, she would be lining up for the Opals at the Tokyo Olympics.
“For everyone wondering so desperately what my decision is for the Opals, I’m in baby… I’m in,” she said.
“How can I sit out when we have the bodysuits back? I’m going to look so good in it.
“I’m going to play with my sisters that I’ve been playing with since I was a wee little thing and I’m going to ball out for all those young brown kids back in Australia watching me, baby. I’m going to do it for you.”
Cambage is the face of Australian women’s basketball and will be competing at her third Olympic Games.