Former USC basketball player Chimezie Metu is playing in the Olympics for Nigeria.
After the basketball team was eliminated last night, he blasted the government and Olympic Committee of Nigeria. For example, the basketball team’s flight from Oakland to Tokyo took 30 hours because it went through Germany to save money. A flight from Oakland to Tokyo takes 11 hours.
Seven members of Coach Mike Brown’s staff were unable to stay in the Olympic Village because of visa problems.
“I’d like to use this time to bring awareness and comment on the off-the-court things a lot of Nigerian athletes have had to go through in these Olympics,” he said. “It’s extremely difficult to go out there and try to focus on the basketball game when you’re dealing with so much stuff off the court.
“For a lot of athletes that are here that represent Nigeria, our country, we’re ready to risk it all and put it on the line, but our government and the Olympic Committee of Nigeria, they make it extremely difficult to go out there and just focus on performing on our sport. I’m not just talking about basketball.
“I’m talking about the track athletes. I’m pretty sure everybody has heard about the 10 track athletes that were disqualified and it had nothing to do with what they did.
“It was a lack of attention to detail and lack of empathy for the hard work that’s put in by us athletes by the Nigerian Olympic Committee as well as the government. For 60-something athletes to fly halfway across the world and get disrespected and humiliated by our country, that’s something that I’m pretty sure none of us will stand for. I commend coach Mike Brown; he’s put a lot on the line for us.”
“We had to practice with no coach before we played the best team in the world, Australia,” Metu said. “I just feel I have to bring attention to that and try to use this platform to speak out against this. We’ve got 60-something athletes here and every single one of us has had a hard time since we’ve been here.”
“We see other countries and how they’re living and it’s just so smooth for them,” Metu said. “Man, what I wouldn’t give to have that. Like I said, all of us would die for our country. We would put it on the line, every last one of us. They make it extremely difficult to want to go out there and want to represent honestly, but over and over again, they continue to (mistreat us).
“I would like to use this time to ask the government and the Olympic Committee to kind of reflect on it and just see the stress they’re putting on us athletes that are coming to represent their dream. Like I said, the game is secondary to me at this point.”