Ref company cuts ties with Adidas over incident with LaVar Ball, female official
A company that supplies officials may be severing its ties with Adidas over an incident involving LaVar Ball.
Court Club Elite (CCE) is ending its five-year relationship with the footwear and apparel giant after Ball berated one of its female refs until she was replaced by a male counterpart in the Adidas Summer Championships.
CCE provided the following statement to ESPN's Myron Medcalf:
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. 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 was livid at the female official for giving him a technical foul, and threatened to pull his son LaMelo and the rest of the Big Baller Brand AAU team from Friday morning's tilt. The Ball patriarch eventually picked up another tech and refused to exit the court, causing his club to forfeit another game for the same reason.
Afterward, the 48-year-old criticized the ref, saying she was out of shape and needed to "stay in her lane." He doubled down on those comments the following day, saying she's not a great ref in his opinion.
The midgame officiating switch was reportedly facilitated by Adidas in order to keep Ball in the building and appease his son, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who could be open to signing a shoe deal with the company.
CCE reportedly tried to retaliate by enlisting an all-female crew in Big Baller Brand's next game, but that effort was "compromised" with only one woman officiating Friday night.