LaVar Ball's Junior Basketball Association stays silent about coach's bullying behavior

LaVar Ball is rarely silent. The outspoken father of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball even boasted over the weekend that he could beat his son’s newest teammate, LeBron James, in a game of one-on-one. Yet, all is quiet when it comes to concerning issues about his Junior Basketball Association.

The elder Ball founded the eight-team league as an alternative to college for players like his 16-year-old son LaMelo, who left high school to play professionally. Controversy has befallen the JBA less than a month into its launch, as Chicago Ballers (teams from all eight cities are called the Ballers) coach Edward Denard physically and verbally assailed a player during a timeout late in a loss on Thursday.

In the four days since, the league has ignored media requests for comment, and Denard has yet to face disciplinary measures in advance of his team’s game in Dallas on Thursday. Giving coaches carte blanche to bully players is a dangerous precedent to set for a fledgling league seeking legitimacy.

JBA coach verbally and physically assails a player

This is not an overreaction. You need only watch the video once of Denard twice putting his fists to Montrell Dixson’s chest and all but challenging the 20-year-old to a fight to know this is unacceptable.

“Hey, that’s my bad, I guess,” Dixson said during the timeout, as a microphone from the Facebook Live broadcast picked up audio inside the huddle on the floor of a mostly empty arena in Ontario, Calif.

“Get the f***ing ball,” Denard countered. “Stop being a b****.”

When Dixson responds, Denard tries to intimidate the player, getting in the player’s face and asking him, “What you going to do? What you going to do, huh? What the f*** are you going to do?”

Benched for the final 1:24 of the game, Dixson resisted any further interaction with his coach.

“I’ll cut the record straight as of now,” Dixson said in a Facebook post responding to the incident the following day. “I didn’t react like everybody wanted to because I know how to keep my composure when needed to. If I would’ve acted crazy I’d be the kid known for fighting his coach on national TV.”

Neither Denard nor Ball nor the JBA has responded to requests for comment. The Chicago Ballers are scheduled to play in Dallas on Thursday, and the coach has faced zero discipline from the league.

See LaVar Ball through the years: 

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LaVar Ball through the years
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LaVar Ball through the years
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball #2 of the UCLA Bruins, watches the game against the USC Trojans at Galen Center on January 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 01: UCLA guard Lonzo Ball's father LaVar Ball talks to a reporter before a college basketball game between the Washington Huskies and the UCLA Bruins on March 1, 2017, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EST and features a diverse lineup of guests that includes celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human-interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Monday, June 12 included Diane Keaton ('AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Diane Keaton'), Lonzo and LaVar Ball and musical guest Phoenix. (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) LAVAR BALL, JIMMY KIMMEL, LONZO BALL
TORRANCE, CA - MARCH 14: Lavar Ball is seen at the game between Chino Hills High School and Bishop Montgomery High School at El Camino College on March 14, 2017 in Torrance, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22: LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball, looks on during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 07: LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers, greets fans at halftime of a 2017 Summer League game between the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 7, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Clippers won 96-93 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: LaVar Ball and ice Cube compete in a four point shooting contest during the BIG3 game event at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: (L-R) Ice Cube and Lavar Ball compete in the Four Point Challenge during week eight of the BIG3 three on three basketball league at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 13: LaVar Ball attends the BIG3 at Staples Center on August 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
CHINO, CA - SEPTEMBER 02: LaVar Ball (L) and LaMelo Ball attend Melo Ball's 16th Birthday on September 2, 2017 in Chino, California. (Photo by Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Crosswalk Productions )
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 02: LaVar Ball holds courd during The Los Angeles Lakers game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 31: LaVar Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Detroit Pistons at Staples Center on October 31, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LaVar Ball (L), father of basketball player LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, attends a promotional event in Hong Kong on November 14, 2017. UCLA players LiAngelo Ball -- the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie star Lonzo Ball -- and teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested on November 7 in Hangzhou ahead of their regular-season-opening game against Georgia Tech in nearby Shanghai this past weekend. ESPN reported that they were nabbed on suspicion of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store and later freed on bail but ordered to remain in Hangzhou. / AFP PHOTO / Anthony WALLACE (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images)
LaVar Ball (R), father of LiAngelo Ball and the owner of the Big Baller brand, poses for a selfie with a fan during a promotional event in Shanghai on November 10, 2017. LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers star Lonzo Ball, was among three college basketball players arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting, US media reports said on November 8. / AFP PHOTO / STR / China OUT (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: LaVar Ball (R) and Tina Ball attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls at Staples Center on November 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27: LaVar Ball looks on during the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers on November 27, 2017 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 7: LaVar Ball, father of Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers, reacts after the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on December 7, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lakers defeated the 76ers 107-104. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 12: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) LaVar Ball attends a game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers at Madison Square Garden on December 12, 2017 in New York City. The Knicks defeated the Lakers 113-109 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25: LaVar Ball and Tina Ball attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on December 25, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
PRIENAI, LITHUANIA - JANUARY 05: LaVar Ball, father of LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball looks on during their first training session with Lithuania Basketball team Vytautas Prienai on January 5, 2018 in Prienai, Lithuania. (Photo by Alius Koroliovas/Getty Images)
KAUNAS, LITHUANIA - JANUARY 12: Lavar Ball in action during the 2017/2018 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Regular Season Round 17 game between Zalgiris Kaunas and Unicaja Malaga at Zalgirio Arena on January 12, 2018 in Kaunas, Lithuania. (Photo by Alius Koroliovas/EB via Getty Images)
Los Angeles entrepreneur LaVar Ball holds up a jersey a press conference in Prienai, Lithuania, where his sons LaMelo Ball, LiAngelo Ball will play for the Vytautas club on January 5, 2018. Basketball-crazed Lithuania welcomed LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, the two youngest sons of flamboyant Los Angeles entrepreneur LaVar Ball who recently made headlines due to a feud with US President Donald Trump. / AFP PHOTO / Petras Malukas (Photo credit should read PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/Getty Images)
CHINO HILLS, CA - MAY 18 Portrait of Tina Ball and Husband Lavar Ball in the entry of their Chino Hills family home on May 18, 2018. Tina is the matriarch of the Ball basketball family but has been relatively quiet during their rise in the sports world. (Photo by Damon Casarez for The Washington Post via Getty Images
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LaVar Ball was no saint as a coach

Perhaps this should not come as a surprise. As a coach, Ball once pulled his AAU team off the floor and forfeited a game when a referee whistled him for a technical foul. A week later, when he was again issued a tech for berating an official, he demanded the ref be removed from a game. He has made sexist comments toward female media members and his own wife. His other business venture, Big Baller Brand, received an “F” rating from the Better Business Bureau for failing to fulfill orders.

Ball has not had a firm grip on decorum, but you would expect him to stop short of condoning Denard’s behavior. Yet, the man who has been quick to openly criticize his sons’ high school, college and professional coaches is choosing to remain silent when the coach now in question works for him.

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Ben Rohrbach is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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