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Women Referees in a Man’s Game

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Cleveland Cavs versus Los Angeles Clippers

Cavs versus Clippers

On February 5, the Cleveland Cavaliers played a game versus the Los Angeles Clippers at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The Cavs came into the game riding an 11-game win streak looking to make it 12. The Clippers entered the game looking to start a new win-streak as they had just lost by 2 points to the Brooklyn Nets just three days prior.

By the end of the game, the Clippers received five technical fouls and had a player ejected. Doc Rivers, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul were all the lucky winners of technical fouls in the 105-94 loss. The game was well known by the end of the night for the fouls and Paul’s comments on the female referee.

The technical fouls aren’t the real story of this game though.

Lauren Holtkamp versus Chris Paul

So who is Lauren Holtkamp and why does she matter? Well she was the “token female” of the officiating crew that night, joined by Ken Mauers and Eric Lewis. The first technical foul of the night, whether it was a legitimate call or not, was called by Lauren Holtkamp. And naturally, the first thing out of everyone’s mouths was that she was emotional and so she called a foul. Here we are again, trying to give blame for something a woman does by blaming emotions.

The above video shows the altercation with Holtkamp after the call. I do think this was a bad call, but that is not my place to decide. After I watched the video, I decided to scroll down to see some of the comments and sure enough, Paul was not the only person to blame this call on the referee’s gender.

Lauren Holtcamp Youtube Comment 1
Lauren Holtcamp Youtube Comment 2
Lauren Holtcamp Youtube Comment 3

And that was only from the first five comments.

So of course, Paul was not very happy with the call, so he too decided it would be a good idea to blame it on Holtkamp’s gender, because that is the logical thing to do.

“That tech that I got right there was ridiculous,” Paul said. “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.”

At least Clippers Coach Doc Rivers has some bit of sense in him.

“Well, I didn’t like it,” Rivers said. “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. I don’t think the technical was warranted, either, to be honest, but that’s not a gender issue.”

Lauren HoltcampSo let’s take a look at who Holtkamp is.
• Played DII women’s basketball for Drury University in Springfield, MO
• Started reffing NBA D-League games in 2008, along with WNBA and women’s college games
• Is the NBA’s 3rd female referee
• Is in her first season with the NBA
Holtkamp IS NOT:
• Less of a referee for being a woman

Holtkamp is a ROOKIE. It is one thing to blame a bad call on a rookie referee, because it happens. But to blame a bad call on someone’s gender is unacceptable.

Lauren Holtkamp versus Men

Holtkamp is going to continue to face gender discrimination in a predominantly male field, both in refereeing and the obvious men’s basketball league. As the third female NBA referee, joining Dee Kanter, current WNBA supervisor of officials, and Violet Palmer, current NBA referee.

Holtkamp, in a 2014 interview with USA Today, said she emphatic to be a woman BA referee and notes that she has been treated fairly as a referee as far as her performance goes.

Holtkamp and Palmer are paving the way for an even playing field in a man’s sport, but that does not come without setbacks in terms of gender issues.

What do you think Chris Paul meant by his comments? Do you think he was being sexist or just using it as a general pronoun? Let me know what you guys think and check out my blog Girls and the Game.

Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Lindsay

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