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Do We Really Need to Talk About Chris Paul?

In general, the Clippers need to do a much better job of keeping their emotions in check and not alienating referees. Was Chris Paul heated in his comments about rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp? Sure. The league will almost certainly hand him a hefty fine, and he probably deserves it. But can we please not make this about gender? It really is not about gender.

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

I am going to keep my response to this whole Chris Paul pseudo-controversy brief.  In this new digital age, everything anyone says is scrutinized and dissected.  People in the public eye have to be very, very careful when saying or even doing anything that could be filmed or recorded.  The next big scandal is always around the corner.  My guess is that Paul is absolutely mortified this morning to be accused of sexism in his outburst.  My issue with what he said purely has to do with the fact that he validated the stereotype of his team as a group of whining and entitled basketball players.  It is not a good  look for any of them.  Yes, the referees were quick to hand out technical fouls like candy to the Clippers, but the team had lost their composure long before that started happening.  This is on them, and it is on Doc Rivers.  It is not on Lauren Holtkamp and the other two members of the officiating crew.  Seriously, when are they going to learn to defend without fouling?  When are they going to play consistent defense?  Their inability to do anything to stop the Cavaliers got the Clippers rattled, and they came apart at the seams.

Now, on to the controversy of the day.  Is Chris Paul sexist?  No, I do not think so.  Nothing he has ever done has suggested this.  Shouldn't he get the benefit of the doubt this time?  He is the President of the National Basketball Players Association, and he lobbied hard for Michele Roberts to be the first female executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.  This is a fact.  Would someone who felt that women did not belong in the NBA lobby for a woman for that position?  Nope.  Everyone needs to take a breath and calm down.

I find it sexist that his comments are interpreted as sexist.  It actually rubs me the wrong way, and I hope he does not have to apologize to some women's rights group.  He said nothing about her gender.  I did not realize referring to a woman as "her"  was demeaning.  Good to know!  His issue with Holtkamp is that, in his opinion, she needs to develop a thicker skin in her officiating.  In other words, she was showing her rookie colors.  This game felt similar to the game at Denver on December 19, 2014 in that there were numerous technical fouls called in that loss as well.  The Denver officiating crew also had newer referees.  Many talking heads mentioned that more seasoned referees would not have been so emotional and trigger-happy in a contest like that.  Paul was angry, embarrassed at the loss, and emotional, but he was essentially saying the same thing.  He just should not have said it, as it violates league policy to criticize officiating.  In general, the Clippers have issues with several referees.  It seems like anyone with a whistle is seen as potential threat, gender aside.

Women, especially women in traditionally male fields, are strong and capable.  The Holtkamps, Violet Palmers, Natalie Nakases, and Becky Hammons of the world do not need to be coddled by the media.  They can handle themselves, and they have earned the right to be treated like everyone else. Yes, gender discrimination is real and needs to be eradicated, but we do not need to look for it in everything.

Wake me up when this scandal blows over.  And wake me up when the Clippers figure out how to control their emotions and play Championship-level defense.