LA Clippers point guard and insurance salesman Chris Paul has been embroiled in a sexism scandal after he slammed female NBA ref Lauren Holtkamp, calling her ridiculous and saying NBA refereeing "might not be for her." After the Clippers lost 105-94 to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Paul -- who is also the head of the NBA Players Association -- apparently upset that a GIRL told him what to do, lambasted Holtkamp's decision to call him for a tech in the third quarter of the game. Holtkamp is only the third full-time female referee in all of the major professional US sports (all in the NBA). Yeah. How dare a ref call a star who spends most of his games bitching and moaning at refs for a technical?
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 6, 2015
As CBS Sports' RJ White explains, "The Clippers were hit with four technical fouls in the third quarter alone, and three in a 52-second span." Paul, says White, was hit with his technical when Holtkamp held up the the Clippers "as the team was attempting to inbound the ball and the guard questioned her."
ICYMI: "This might not be for her." - Chris Paul was critical of referee Lauren Holtkamp after receiving technical. http://t.co/eZYIWOEJfL — SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 6, 2015
According to ESPN, Paul -- seemingly after clearing the tears from his eyes after a girl told him what to do -- later told reporters that while he believed he and his team needed to control their emotions better, he didn't agree with some of the calls, and roundly criticized the rookie female ref.
"I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of [the technical fouls] were ridiculous," said Paul. "The tech that I get right there was ridiculous. I don't care what nobody says, I don't care what she says; that's terrible. There's no way that can be a tech. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court, and when we did that, she said, 'Uh-uh.' I said, 'Why, uh-uh?' And she gave me a tech.
"That's ridiculous," he added. "If that's the case, this might not be for her."
SB Nation's Rodger Sherman points out that while "It's not clear what Paul said to Holtkamp," the star "said he didn't curse," yet Holtkamp's "reaction to penalize Paul was quick and decisive." As ESPN's Ramona Shelbourne explained though, he and fellow ESPN talking head Michael Wilbon are "hearing" that Paul meant perhaps refereeing wasn't for "her" because she's a rookie. Not because she's a woman.
As both Wilbon and I said on SportsCenter, I'm hearing that CP meant the ref in question was a rookie referee. — Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 6, 2015
That doesn't at all sound like a typical cop-out at all. "Oh, no; I meant it was because she was a rookie. It had nothing to do with my entrenched beliefs about gender and the fact that I was punished by a female referee. It was definitely because she's a rookie."
It's a bit odd, though, isn't it, that Paul has never gone out of his way to criticize a male ref in such a fashion?
Yeah Chris Paul is going to work all refs and probably not be happy with most techs. Just don't remember him having a previous quote like it — Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 6, 2015
Projecting motive is a bad call. But being curious shouldn't be met with hostility in the Chris Paul discussion. There's a middle here. — Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 6, 2015
Paul may have said the same about a male rookie ref. Unfortunately, however, he doesn't have a history of doing so... and he just did so to a woman who is only the third full-time female referee in all of major US sports. (Violet Palmer has been a ref since 1997, and Dee Kantner is no longer with the league.)
As Sherman points out, "the gist of Paul's statement is that she isn't mentally strong or tough enough to call NBA games. Would Paul, a player who doesn't have a history of criticizing officials to the press, say that about a male ref in a historically entirely male field?"
Stay classy, Chris Paul. Perhaps State Farm offer cootie insurance?
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So how big is that Chris Paul fine going to be? Questioning officials is dangerous grounds on its own, & this has the gender component. — Sam Amick (@sam_amick) February 6, 2015