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Clippers guard Chris Paul says criticism of official wasn't gender-related

02/06/2015 07:05 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - A day after criticizing a female official, Chris Paul had little to say about the subject Friday.

"Last night was about a bad call, that's all," the Los Angeles Clippers guard said.

Paul lashed out at Lauren Holtkamp after he was called for a technical foul in Thursday's 105-94 loss in Cleveland.

Asked three times about the incident prior to Friday's tipoff against the Toronto Raptors, Paul repeated: "Like I said, last night was about a bad call. That's it."

The Clippers were attempting to inbound quickly after a free throw when Holtkamp stepped in. Paul questioned her and was slapped with the technical.

"The tech I got was ridiculous," Paul told reporters in Cleveland. "That's terrible. There's no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out fast every time down the court. When we did that, she said, 'Uh-uh.' I said, 'Why uh-uh?' and she gave me a technical. That's ridiculous. If that's the case, this might not be for her."

The comments created a firestorm — undeserved, said Clippers coach Doc Rivers.

"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," Rivers said.

Rivers said he didn't "think the technical was warranted either, to be honest. But that's not a gender issue, that's just an issue that you disagreed with the tech."

The 34-year-old Holtkamp spent six seasons in the NBA Development League, and officiated nine NBA regular-season games before her promotion to the full-time staff.

Violet Palmer is the league's other female referee, having worked about 900 regular-season games during a career that's now in its 18th season.

Rivers said gender isn't an issue in NBA officiating.

"We can all ref, it doesn't matter what sex you are, I think that's how it's been viewed. If you can ref, you can ref," Rivers said. "I think you ref with your eyes. ... and I think the people who that can be pretty good."

Paul's criticism of the rookie official drew a rebuke from the referees union on Friday, followed by strong backing from the female executive director of the NBA Players Association.

"Any suggestion that Chris Paul would ever conduct himself in a disrespectful manner towards women is utterly ridiculous, outrageous and patently false," Michele Roberts said in a statement, noting Paul's role in making her the first woman to head a North American major sports union last summer.

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With files from the Associated Press.

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