The organization that provided referees for the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships that took place in Las Vegas over the past five days is ending its relationship with the billion-dollar shoe company because of the way Adidas allowed LaVar Ball to remove a female official from a game early Friday.
“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,” read a statement from Court Club Elite that was 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.”
, Ball threatened to remove his Big Ballers team from a game early Friday unless a female official who had just given him a technical foul was replaced. After about a 10-minute discussion, Adidas officials did in fact remove the referee from the game and replace her with a male official. It’s a move that was widely criticized on social media.
(Here’s the column I wrote about it Friday night.)
The Big Ballers were eliminated from the event Saturday.
LaVar Ball had no other issues with officials after Friday’s incident.
“This appalling story about the female referee removed during an AAU game warrants serious discussion,” the National Basketball Referees Association tweeted early Sunday. “First, the misogynistic comments and intimidation by the coach have no place in basketball or anywhere. The actions by Adidas show what happens when an organization does not support those tasked with protecting the integrity of the game. We support the referee community. This offensive behavior cannot stand and hurts all those involved in basketball.”