Catching Up: Chris Paul, Lauren Holtkamp and sexism


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The Act

With 10 minutes left in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chris Paul, bringing the ball up the floor, was tagged with a techincal foul for swapping words with female, rookie official Lauren Holtkamp.

The Follow-Up

Though the actual techincal foul calls drew a lot of attention, the controversey was made once Chris Paul spoke on the situation in the post-game, stating Holtkamp may be in the wrong field of work.

“I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of [the technical fouls] were ridiculous,” said Paul on the foul calls. “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. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”

The Reactions

Paul’s comments on Holkamp’s officiating creating a snowball effect on social media. Because of “…this might not be for her”, many attempted to paint Paul’s words as sexist toward Lauren Holtkamp. Without a direct statement from the horses mouth, we won’t know what Paul’s intentions were with his statement — sexism is an option just as much as Paul not believing Holtkamp is fit to referee NBA games.

Either way, the comments have forced observers to take a side.

I personally believe Chris Paul’s intent was leaning more toward his asshole side than a sexism side we’ve yet to openly witness him act under. Because Holtkamp is one of two female referees in the NBA, the critism comes off harsh. At the same time, the critism comes off as rare because his statement has never been made toward a male referee — with Paul’s on the court way, it’s a sure thing Paul has been in a similar incident before, but without the same following quotes stating said official is unprepared for his job.

And therein lies the issue.

Even if Paul’s comments are completely harmless, the circumstances paint them in a bad light.

The Responses

Chris Paul: Repeated thrice in a Marshawn Lynch-esque manner, “Last night was about a bad call. That’s all.”

Doc Rivers (Clippers head coach): “Well, I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that part of it, but I don’t think he meant it in the way I think it’s being said. I just think he was upset at the technical. I don’t think the technical was warranted either, to be honest, but that’s not a gender issue. … I don’t think that he meant that it as a gender issue at all.”

National Basketball Referee Association: “The NBRA has carefully reviewed the calls made by Lauren Holtkamp and deems them fully justified,” NBRA general counsel Lee Seham said in a statement. “Furthermore, the NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. She belongs.”

Michele Roberts (NBAPA executive director): “Without hesitation, the Players Association stands firmly behind Chris, whose competitiveness may only be exceeded by the strength of his values and his conviction.

“Any suggestion that Chris Paul would ever conduct himself in a disrespectful manner towards women is utterly ridiculous, outrageous and patently false. His personal management team, which includes several accomplished women who play a major role in virtually all of his business affairs is, alone, evidence of that fact.”

Becky Hammond (Former WNBA Player and San Antonio Spurs assistant coach): via Twitter, “Chris Paul is a competitor & he had an opinion, I don’t think it had anything to do with the refs gender.”

What’s Next

Most likely, the NBA proceeds to fine Chris Paul for openly criticizing an official and we move on like this never happened. And because of the growing animosity between Holtkamp and the Clippers as a whole (it’s been reported this isn’t the first time LA has complained about Holtkamp as an official), it may be unlikely the NBA schedules Holtkamp during a Clippers game, maybe until next season when everything has blown over.

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