The Clippers did not have a fun night on Thursday with the Cavs dunking and lobbing all over them on their way to a 105-94 win that was more of a blowout than the final score indicates. During the frustrating loss, Chris Paul was whistled for a technical early in the third quarter by first-year ref, Lauren Holtkamp. Paul’s comments after the game, including the pronoun-specific suggestion “this might not be for her,” has some wondering if it’s an implicit knock that women shouldn’t ref games.
Holtkamp is in her first season as a full-time NBA ref — just the third woman in NBA history — after working part-time NBA and Summer League games. Before her promotion, she was working NCAA, WNBA and D-League games, so it’s not like she’s without experience. She was part of the Summer Dreams documentary about her ascension to the NBA level through the NBA’s far-reaching pipeline to groom future NBA refs.
The play that upset Paul occurred early in the second half, with 10:17 remaining in the third when Paul picked up his technical. The Clippers were already down by 23 at that point, and Cleveland rested most of their starters after lengthening their lead to 31 by the end of the third period.
Still, despite getting blown out, Paul was angry about the refs, specifically Holtkamp, as Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding noted at the time on Twitter:
Here’s a Vine of Paul’s comment, because it’s important we see and hear it first-hand:
Paul’s pillory of Holtkamp needs some frame of reference. The comment in a vacuum looks really bad for the Presient of the National Basketball Players Association — like he’s condemning her actions because she’s a woman. ESPN.com’s Arash Markazi adds more to Paul’s post-game quote: