It would be nice if Liz Cambage didn’t try to refute reports that she broke COVID protocols with the term “fake news,” but the Australian star sure did defend herself after her withdrawal from the Olympic team during its Las Vegas training camp, for which she cited mental health.
“I’ve been trapped in this room, with no view, with nothing for a week,” Cambage said Friday, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Of course I’m gonna lose my mind in here, you serious, I’m seeing reports that I went out partying. Shit, I wish I did. I know some of the people in Vegas have been having a really good time this week but I’ve been in here, bro. I’ve been in here. The only time I left this goddamn bubble was for the All-Star Game. I don’t appreciate the lies.”
Despite having made a deal with Australia coach Sandy Brondello that she could leave the Australian camp to join Team WNBA against Team USA if she didn’t overexert herself, Cambage did not play in the game. Instead, she was seen eating popcorn and having a good time, which, cool. She managed her minutes, as agreed.
Cambage further explained that she’s had breakdowns in the Whole Foods parking lot and “non-stop panic attacks” about the Olympic bubble.
“The main reason I sat out of the WNBA bubble last season was my mental health,” Cambage said. “Like, I’m not OK in a bubble. I’m not OK playing in front of no fans, mentally I’m escapist, if I have no escape from a situation it gives me anxiety and I panic and there is definitely no escape in Tokyo except for leaving. I would not want to do that to the team.”
Cambage’s openness and honesty about her struggle is refreshing, and a perfect way to hit back at dingdongs like Andrew Bogut making it out like she was faking it for sympathy — even if it’s still true that there was an incident in the Aussies’ scrimmage against Nigeria, and possibly that an anxiety-riddled Cambage is difficult to have as a teammate, and the controversial altercation a result of all those emotions boiling over.
We’ll never know the whole truth, and that’s fine. Cambage is doing what’s best for her, and the Australian team has moved on, too, beating Team USA on Friday in an Olympic tune-up game, 70-67.
Anytime you’re on a list where it’s just you, Joe DiMaggio, and Brooks Robinson, you’re probably doing something right.
Jake Cronenworth did something right, in an incredibly odd and specific way. Baseball’s ability to have that is neat.