LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)— The coach of the player seen punching an opponent in a viral video addressed the incident for the first time on Saturday.
"First, I want to mention that my sincerest apologies were expressed to the Ham Family on behalf of our Academy, the day Lauryn was injured," wrote Alex Wilson, the head coach of the Dream Basketball Academy.
"I want to assure that our Academy takes these matters very seriously and DOES NOT CONDONE this type of behavior. EVER. (sic)"
The player in question was seen in the viral video punching 15-year-old Lauryn Ham during a youth club basketball game on Sunday, Nov. 7. Ham suffered a bruised neck and concussion. Wilson said that the player has since been suspended indefinitely.
The girl, who will not be named because of her age, is the daughter of former NBA player Corey Benjamin. According to some witnesses, the player was provoked to punch Ham by her mother.
"We are helping [the player] and her mother enter into counseling & anger management as well as service to community work," wrote Wilson. "They couldn't be more remorseful for their part in this regrettable turn of events."
A second video has emerged of the player attempting to fight another player in a separate game. Wilson claims that the video is taken out of context.
"A second video is circulating from September with no context and zero connection to what transpired last Sunday in Garden Grove," he wrote. "The September clip was the result of players cheapshotting [her] throughout the game and referees-in-training not equipped with the experience needed to control the game at this particular event. (sic)"
Since the viral incident, the Ham family has filed a police report. They also want the offending player and her mother banned from youth basketball and prosecuted. However, Wilson believes that is too far.
"[The player], already hurting, made a mistake during an emotionally taxing moment in Sunday's game," he wrote. Her mother made a mistake she wishes she could take back as well. Do we really want to ruin a 13 year-old's (now 14 year-old's) future over this mistake? (sic)"
Wilson pointed to the recent scuffle between reigning MVP of the National Basketball Association Nikola Jokic and Markieff Morris. Jokic was suspended one game after shoving Morris to the ground.
"Is the court of public opinion calling to have someone press charges against him?" wrote Wilson. "Are we trying to end his career?? No, of course not. Are we calling it a racially-inspired assault?? Obviously not! That would make zero sense in these cases. Just as it makes zero sense in this matter with these two young girls (sic)."
Wilson asked the public to give the girls and their families space to use this as a teachable moment.
Ham's family said they have yet to hear from the other player or her mom.
Wilson's full statement can be read here.
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