Given the video of Chris Paul’s comments after Thursday’s Clippers-Cavaliers game, and reviewed the reports on said comments, it seems clear that Paul was not, in any particular way, criticizing referee Lauren Holtkamp based upon her gender. Interpretations to the contrary are either mistaken interpretations of a fairly mild denunciation, or willful mischaracterizations by people sifting for controversy where there’s little more than the usual grit. Paul was perfectly justified in expressing his disagreement with the call.
But, it should also be noted that Holtkamp was perfectly justified in T-ing up Paul. For one thing, the referees have that discretion whenever he or she deems it necessary, given how the game is being played. Also, in his comments to reporters, Paul claimed that all he said to Holtkamp was an innocent “Why ‘Uh-uh’?” (a response to Holtkamp’s negative utterance over the Clips’ attempt to quickly inbound the ball). That’s all, eh? Paul never said anything else to Holtkamp (or her colleagues) all game? That strains credulity; Paul and his teammates are known to be among the chirpingest teams in the NBA. (Three Clippers are currently in the top 10 in technical fouls this season.) We’ve heard about the “uh-uh” exchange, but nobody has reported on what preceded it. Chances are pretty strong that Paul’s remark was not one innocent comment, but the last in a series that eventually exhausted Holtkamp’s patience. Getting the full story would be most helpful here; until then, let’s not judge either party too harshly.