Australia’s national women’s basketball team, the Opals, have announced they will not train until Basketball Australia commits to stamping out racial injustice within the sport.
Opals and Las Vegas Aces star Liz Cambage announced the move via Instagram on Thursday, pledging the team’s support to the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We as an Opals playing group stand in support of our Black and Indigenous players and will not be training until we see support and change from our sporting organisation @basketballaus!! We say enough is enough!! #blacklivesmatter.”
Basketball Australia responded to the Opals’ call for social change with a statement via Twitter, announcing they have put together a Reconciliation Action Plan and are in the process of developing a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan.
“For decades, Australian basketball – from grassroots to the elite level – has been enriched by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people of colour,” the statement from Basketball Australia said.
“Recent events in the United States makes it clear that as a global family we must work harder to eradicate racism, discrimination and injustice.
“These issues are significant in Australia too. In 1991, there was a Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Since then, a further 437 deaths in custody of Aboriginal people have occurred. Not a single person has been held responsible for any of these deaths.
“Basketball Australia is committed to eliminating racism and discrimination in all its forms and acknowledges we all have a role in building a more tolerant and just society.”
Earlier this month Liz Cambage called out Australians for focusing their attention on the Black Lives Matter movement in the US, saying via Instagram, “We have blood all over our hands Australia. We are covered in it. And you don’t even understand why.”
Cambage spoke of her own encounters with racism in Australia, saying that she has never felt at home growing up and only found her worth after moving to the US.
“This past week has had me really, really confused and really, really shook,” Cambage said. “This week has brought a lot of trauma up. All the s— I dealt with growing up. The name calling, being left out of things because no one wants to play with the black girl. … It’s been a lot.”
“I had so much shame about it, giving up on my country and race issues in this country,” she said. “I’m tired. I’m tired.”
“Until you start teaching the real history of Australia, until you start respecting the traditional land owners of this country, you do not care about black lives,” she said.
“Until I see more diversity and more inclusion in this country, you do not care about black lives.”