“To Mr Longbottom, I’m sorry that you got caught up in this. I did not think you had fake tan on, I was never saying that, I was saying that for the rest of the photo,” said Cambage in apology. “I’m so sorry from the bottom of my hear that things got twisted today and the media used you as a tool to defer from the real issue - that Australia is ignorant.”
Cambage’s message certainly is a poignant one and while it’s an experience she has lived throughout her sporting career, the AOC’s response seems far from apologetic. “The AOC acknowledges Liz Cambage’s point with regard to this particular photoshoot. The athletes made available to Jockey could and should have better reflected the rich diversity of athletes who represent Australia at the Olympics.”
The statement continued: “The AOC does however have a very proud history of celebrating and promoting diversity in all its forms. From Indigenous reconciliation, people of colour, gender equality and all forms of diversity, the AOC is rightly proud of its record.”
Cambage responded to the statement with a passionate response posted to her Instagram Stories in which she wrote: “Australia, wake the f*ck up. I’m not playing these games no more, I’m not. You can try and twist my words however you want. It’s not going to work. I’m not taking any media, I’m not doing any interviews. I’m not talking to you. Listen here.”
She added, “One token POC in a photo is not good enough at AOC. That’s what I’m talking about.” For Cambage, the apology didn’t mean “anything” and clearly, it won’t until the AOC changes their ways and makes an effort to reflect the great diversity we have here in Australia, and naturally the diversity we have across sport. Sport is, after all, a perspective through which we can see the world and learn from others and yet sadly, the track record here in Australia leaves little to be desired when it comes to POC and women in sport where unequal pay continues to blanket most sporting competitions.
“I saw the apology, words don’t mean anything to me, actions mean something to me. So let me see it. Because until then I’m not buying shit. And that’s just how it is. And I’m going to keep talking my shit because I’m doing it for the little girls and little boys who are people of colour. Asian, black, indigenous - wherever you’re from in this whole world. It’s important to see people who look like you in the media. And white Australia, you would never understand that, because you’ve never had to deal with it.”