Chris Paul/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Clippers, NBA.com
Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, on Friday released a statement declaring her support for Chris Paul regarding Paul’s post-game comments Thursday after a loss at Cleveland.
The Clippers were whistled for five technical fouls in the game. One, against Paul in the third quarter called by rookie referee Lauren Holtkamp, drew the ire of Paul and he pulled no punches afterward.
“I think we have to show better composure, but at the same time some of (the technical fouls) were ridiculous,” Paul told ESPN.com afterward. “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.”
The notion that Paul might have been guilty of sexism was shot down by Roberts with this statement that ran in a follow-up story on ESPN.com Friday afternoon:
“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.”
Paul is president of the NBPA and was a big proponent of Roberts’ election to executive director in 2014. Roberts became the first female to lead a major men’s professional sport’s union in North America.
“The Players Association is a strong Exhibit B,” her statement Friday continued. “Anyone paying attention is aware that Chris and his executive committee colleagues were instrumental in making me the first woman executive director of a major men’s professional sports union. Further, Chris and the committee were nothing but wholly supportive of my recent hire of Chrysa Chin – a woman – as the NBPA’s first ever executive vice president of strategy and development.”
Roberts’ response came after the National Basketball Referees Association came with this statement:
“The NBRA has carefully reviewed the calls made by Lauren Holtkamp and deems them fully justified,” NBRA general counsel Lee Seham said in a statement. “Furthermore, the NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. She belongs.”