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Candace Parker Rips USA Basketball’s Decision Makers After Nneka Ogwumike’s Olympic Snub

Candace Parker has been in Nneka Ogwumike’s shoes before. The two-time MVP and champion was at the center of one of the most controversial Olympic team cuts ever in 2016, and hasn’t participated in any Team USA event since. Five years later, it’s her former teammate, Ogwumike, who was surprisingly not included on the roster heading to Tokyo.

“I know there’s a lot of deserving women, but how many times are we going to say it’s unfair, right?” Parker said after the Chicago Sky’s win on Tuesday. “How many times are we going to say that it’s not politics? I think we all know that.”

Ogwumike, currently in her 10th season with the Los Angeles Sparks, won MVP for Team USA in the 2020 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament. She was also the only one of eight players invited to Team USA’s college tour against top-10 programs in 2019 to not make the Olympic roster with the exception of Elena Delle Donne, who is not expected to recover from a back injury in time to play.

Team USA head coach Dawn Staley alluded to injuries playing a factor in the decision to cut Ogwumike from the roster, but the All-Star’s sisters, Erica and teammate Chiney, have said that’s untrue. The Sparks released a statement on June 3 saying Ogwumike’s knee sprain would take 4-6 weeks to recover from. She’s suffered no setbacks since, and the latest end of the timeline would have her return July 15. Women’s basketball in Tokyo begins on July 26.

Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller, who is part of the USA Basketball selection committee, was asked about Ogwumike’s omission on Tuesday and deferred to national team director Carol Callan, according to The Hartford Courtant‘s Alexa Philippou.

“I hit Nneka,” Parker added. “I was like ‘Listen, it sucks. It’s unfair. All that. Blah, blah blah. You’re one of the greats. You’re the only MVP not to make the Olympic team.’ Which is bullsh*t. But that’s what it is, right? That’s why I’m commentating in Tokyo.”

Parker isn’t the only player to call out the program. On Monday, former WNBA player Devereaux Peters took to Twitter, calling USA Basketball “fraudulent as hell for eternity.She added, “It’s politics, it rarely has to do with basketball as much as they try and “say”. If you look at the rosters each year you know damn well that’s a lie.”

Parker’s full quote can be seen below:

“Of course I’ve reached out to Nneka,” Parker said. “I think that there’s a number of women that are deserving. That’s not taking away from anyone on the team. Shoutout to Chelsea Gray for being the point guard. I was so excited that they didn’t mess that up, and put her on the team because she’s one of the best guards in the entire world. There’s a number of players that are deserving. I mean, when you’re the United States, you could field a first, second and third team and probably win gold, silver, and bronze. At the same time, I know there’s a lot of deserving women, but how many times are we going to say it’s unfair, right? How many times are we going to say that it’s not politics? I think we all know that. I hit Nneka, I was like ‘Listen, it sucks. It’s unfair. All that. Blah, blah, blah. You’re one of the greats. You’re the only MVP not to make the Olympic team.’ Which is bullsh*t. But that’s what it is, right? That’s why I’m commentating in Tokyo.”

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