THE Australian Basketballers Association and Basketball Australia issued a joint statement against claims of alleged racial slurs made by Australia players towards Gilas Pilipinas players in their brawl-marred Fiba World Cup Asian qualifier last week.
ABA chief executive officer Jacob Holmes and Basketball Australia chief executive officer Anthony Moore issued the joint statement to deny allegations made by Filipino photographer Winston Baltasar to ABC radio that Australia players were hurling ‘monkey’ taunts during the game.
Holmes and Moore also expressed concern over the ABC report, saying it has caused distress to the players.
“The allegations made by Mr Baltasar are unsubstantiated and highly defamatory and we are reviewing our legal avenues to address them," the statement said.
“The Boomers pride themselves on their inclusive and diverse composition, just like the country they represent and the comments made by Mr Baltasar and republished by the ABC have caused immense distress to our players.”
“At no stage was Basketball Australia or the ABA contacted for comment before the allegations were published, in a clear breach of the ABC’s own editorial standards.”
Moore said: "Australian basketball prides itself on being a diverse sport that embraces all sections of the community. We take these allegations against our players extremely seriously and are deeply disappointed the ABC should choose to publish them."
In an interview with ABC Radio whose content was turned into an article, Baltasar, whose work has appeared at ESPN5's website, said he witnessed taunting and trash-talking during the incident.
"I think I should mention when the Boomers were up by 30 points there was still a lot of what I would say was taunting, a lot of mouthing, there were a lot of words being said," said Baltasar.
Baltasar also said he heard some racial slurs although he admitted not knowing who said it.
"We did hear the word 'monkey' being thrown around," Baltasar said.
When asked if he heard it himself, Baltasar said, "I couldn't hear exactly who said it, but I did hear it, and it was like I said when the Boomers were up by 30 points, I don't think words like that should be thrown around."