NBA Referees Condemn LaVar Ball And Adidas For The Removal Of Female Ref From AAU Game

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LaVar Ball is no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to his views on women in the world of sports. His “stay in your lane” comments from prior to the NBA Draft directed at FS1’s Kristine Leahy drew criticism from many over the sexist tone of the remarks.

More recently, Ball has found himself in hot water over his treatment of a female referee at the adidas Uprising AAU tournament after she gave him and his son LaMelo Ball technicals in the first half. The referee was removed at halftime by the tournament staff after Ball threatened to pull his team off the floor following the assessment of the technicals.

Ball insisted his motives weren’t sexist and adidas noted there was a history between Ball and the ref that led them to the decision to remove her from the game, but then he offered a statement to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello in which he noted that he didn’t think a female referee could handle the men’s game, which would certainly seem to be a misogynistic remark.

“It’s not about me hating that lady or something like that,” Ball 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.”

Aside from him getting high and mighty over the “men’s stuff” when discussing a tournament involving high school kids, there are more than enough examples of strong female referees at all levels of basketball. Among those decrying Ball’s comments was the National Basketball Referees Association — the NBA’s referee union — which released a strong, multi-tweet statement against Ball and adidas for the removal of the referee.

It’s a strong stance from NBA referees to provide some support for referees at lower levels, because, as they note in their tweets, there isn’t enough backing of the refs from tournament officials if they’ll remove an official mid-game because a coach threatens to walk his team off the floor because he thinks there’s a perceived vendetta against him.