Chris Paul takes shot at rookie female referee Lauren Holtkamp
Chris Paul felt that the five technical fouls called against the Los Angeles Clippers during the team’s 105-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena were ludicrous, and he appeared to lay most of the blame on Lauren Holtkamp, a rookie female referee.
The Clippers point guard, who seemed to take the greatest offense to a technical foul called on him during the third quarter, blasted Holtkamp after the game, even suggesting she may not be good enough to officiate NBA games.
“I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of [the technical fouls] were ridiculous,” Paul fumed after the game, per ESPN Los Angeles’ Arash Markazi. “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.”
Paul and other Clippers players, including DeAndre Jordan and Matt Barnes, who was ejected, that griped about the technical fouls called on them during Thursday’s loss were careful to note that their complaints had nothing to with Holtkamp’s gender. They also reportedly noted that they disagreed with some calls Holtkamp made during a game against the Heat earlier in the season.
Game footage covering the events of the evening follows.
Holtkamp, 33, is the third woman to serve as a full-time NBA referee, joining joining Dee Kantner, who now serves as the WNBA’s supervisor of officials) and Violet Palmer, who currently still referees NBA games. She spent six years in the NBA Development League before receiving the call up to the big leagues in September.
“Part of the satisfaction of earning this opportunity has to do with the fact that I’ve been able to stay committed to the work and put the work first and trust the system and that’s what matters,” Holtkamp told USA TODAY Sports after she was promoted. “It doesn’t matter who is doing the work as long as the work is high quality. There is a great deal of satisfaction in that.”
Holtkamp likely understands that being a woman unfortunately will cause her to be subjected to greater scrutiny than a similarly experienced man, but she insists gender should have nothing to do with it.
“I would say really from day one when I got hired into the D-League I’ve been treated as a referee as far as my performance,” she said. “It’s been about my performance and the quality of work.”
(photo credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)