Adidas released a statement following the controversial replacement of a female referee to appease LaVar Ball at a Las Vegas tournament late last week, calling the move a “wrong decision.”
During a Friday game at the adidas Summer Championships, Ball’s Big Baller Brand team, featuring his son, LaMelo Ball, was facing Team BBC when things quickly escalated after LaVar was assessed a technical foul by the referee. With LaVar threatening to remove his team from the floor if the official was not changed out, adidas caved into the pressure and replaced the referee — a Division I women’s referee during the regular season — with someone else.
“The referee substitutions made during our tournament last week are not in line with our company values,” Adidas said in the statement. “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 company who provided the referees for the adidas Summer Championships has already cut ties with the shoe company after the incident.