The company that has provided officials for the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships in Las Vegas is ending its relationship with Adidas because of Friday’s incident in which LaVar Ball successfully removed a female referee from a game.
“The events that led to the removal of a female official on Friday are something that shall not and will not be accepted within the officiating community,” Court Club Elite, an organization that trains and develops referees at amateur and professional levels, said in a statement provided to ESPN. “Adidas and their leadership acted in a manner that does not parallel our views on integrity or professionalism, and neither should be compromised as they were in this situation.
“It was clear that the actions of the official in enforcing and addressing unsporting behavior were defendable and fitting of the behavior displayed; however, the agenda and lack of courage to do the right thing by Adidas leadership sent a clear message that the game and those chosen to protect the integrity were not of priority.”
On Friday, Ball threatened to remove his AAU basketball team, Big Ballers, from the court when he was given a technical foul from the female official, who was not identified. Ball demanded Adidas remove her from the game.
After a long delay, Adidas obliged with Ball’s wish and removed the referee from the game and replaced her with a male official.
Ball received another technical later in the game and was ejected, after which tournament organizers ended the game early rather than finish.
After the game, Ball said the female referee had “a vendetta” and needed “to stay in her lane because she ain’t ready for this.” He went on saying she was not qualified for the job.
The National Basketball Referees Assn. tweeted Sunday its thoughts of the incident and how Adidas handled it.
2/ First, the misogynistic comments and intimidation by the coach have no place in basketball - or anywhere.— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) July 30, 2017
3/ The actions by Adidas show what happens when an organization does not support those tasked with protecting the integrity of the game.— NBA Referees (@OfficialNBARefs) July 30, 2017
Ball told reporters on Saturday that gender played no role in his reaction.
“It’s not about me hating that lady or something like that,” he said. “She just got caught in a bad place: messing with me. She’s good. She’s probably a great ref with the women. But this men’s stuff? It’s a difference between women’s basketball and men’s basketball. Just because we go like that and don’t hit the ball don’t mean it’s a foul. But don’t get your feelings personal.”
The Big Ballers were eliminated from the event Saturday.