On Friday night, Chris Paul an NBA star and president of the National Basketball Players Association, made a controversial and fairly inappropriate remark about a female referee.
Paul was frustrated about a technical foul he received from rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp. In his post-game interview he was quoted saying,
“The tech that I got 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. … That’s ridiculous. If that’s the case, this might not be for her.”
The last 6 words of the quote led to an uproar. Paul maintains that his comments were in response to “a bad call” on the court, and were not gender-based. Meanwhile many people view his comments to be sexist and disrespectful.
On Saturday, less than 24-hours after Paul’s controversial comments, the NBA did what they always do when a player or coach publicly criticizes a referee. They fined Paul for $25,000. Following news of the fine, the executive director of the Players Association, Michele Roberts whom works closely with Paul, made a statement supporting him and refuting any allegations of sexism.
“Any suggestion that Chris Paul would ever conduct himself in a disrespectful manner towards women is utterly ridiculous, outrageous and patently false,” Roberts said. “His personal management team, which includes several accomplished women who play a major role in virtually all of his business affairs is, alone, evidence of that fact.”
Both the NBA and Roberts responded properly by supporting the respective union members. More importantly, everyone involved seems to be unanimously supporting women. Paul’s comments are open for interpretation, but in the following days he has held his stance that he was frustrated about what happened on the court and nothing related to the fact the the referee was a woman.
The support and respect for Chris Paul was clear, as many shot down any allegations that he was a sexist. I believe that Chris Paul made an honest mistake and I am happy to see the NBA, the NBA Referee Association, and the Players Association have all taken a stance against sexism and supporting the progression of women in sports.