*Chris Paul questioned the ability of rookie NBA referee Lauren Holtkamp to call NBA games after she called a technical foul on him.
The Los Angeles Clippers star was called for a technical foul in the third quarter of the team’s game against Cleveland Thursday night after an interaction with referee Lauren Holtkamp, and criticized her capability after the game, saying, “This might not be for her.”
Maybe Paul, who doesn’t have a history of criticizing officials to the press, would’ve said this about any rookie NBA official, but Holtkamp is only the third full-time female referee in major American sports. And it comes across that Paul doesn’t think she has what it takes to call NBA games. The question is…would he have said that about a male rookie ref?
Watch video of the call, which Paul described as “terrible”:
It’s likely that Paul will be fined regardless of whether the league views his comments as sexist — you can’t make statements like this about NBA officials to the media regardless of their gender.
In the NBA’s eyes, Holtkamp is no more or less ready to ref NBA games than her male counterparts. The former Division II player worked her way to the NBA through the league’s referee developmental program, calling D-League games for six years. She called six NBA games last year as a non-staff ref before being called up to the league’s full-time crew this year. Holtkamp was the topic of a documentary, “Summer Dreams,” following her as well as players and coaches hoping to get noticed at NBA Summer League.
The NBA is the only major American sports league to have employed female referees. Violet Palmer has been refereeing games since 1997, while Dee Kantner was fired by the league in 1997 before becoming the WNBA’s head of officiating.