Adidas admits ‘wrong decision’ after female referee removed to appease LaVar Ball




Three days removed from Adidas officials swapping a female referee off the court with another official during a game in the Adidas Summer Championships per LaVar Ball’s demands, the company said ‘it was the wrong decision’ in a statement issued Monday.

“The referee substitutions made during our tournament last week are not in line with our company values,” Adidas’ statement reads. “It was the wrong decision. We regret the situation and are looking into the matter to make sure our standards for sportsmanship, equality and fair play are met in the future. Supporting all athletes is critical to who we are. We believe in the power of sport to create positivity and bring people together. Importantly, any representation that we would compromise our values and inclusive approach for the benefit of any individual is inaccurate.”

The controversy came during Big Baller Brand’s game vs. Team BBC on Friday morning in Las Vegas. Ball threatened to forfeit the game and have his team leave the facility if the official — an NCAA Division I women’s referee who assessed Ball with a technical foul — was not removed. 

After more than 10 minutes of on-court deliberation, the official was taken off the floor and replaced with a male referee. A second technical foul was assessed to Ball later in the first half, and at that point Adidas made the decision to call the game after Ball refused to leave the floor. 

The official taken off the court did not disclose her name to CBS Sports, and she was visibly upset in the moments afterward. Ball told ESPN on Friday that the female official needed to “stay in her lane” and declared her “out of shape.” CBS Sports asked Ball on Saturday if he had any second thoughts about his comments. He said no, and insisted it had nothing to do with her gender and was entirely about his opinion on her ability to officiate boys basketball.

“It’s not about me hating that lady or something,” Ball said Saturday. “She just got caught in a bad place: messing with me. She’s good. She’s  probably a great ref for the women. She’s probably a great ref. 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. And that’s why people were like, ‘But she’s a great ref.’ To you she’s a great ref. Not to me.”

On Sunday, Court Club Elite, which provides hundreds of referees for Adidas’ annual Summer Championships, cut its ties with the apparel giant. The officiating entity had worked with Adidas for a decade, company president Ed Rush told CBS Sports.

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Adidas admits ‘wrong decision’ after female referee removed to appease LaVar Ball

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