Part 1: February 5th, 2015
Part II: February 3rd, 2016
Here's what I don't mind. I don't mind Lauren Holtkamp making a hair trigger technical foul call. I don't mind her holding a grudge against players with whom she's had a contentious past. I don't mind her having a particularly low tolerance -and an exceedingly quick whistle- with players that she harbors a
certain amount of justifiable animosity towards. NBA officials -whether they be male or female- are still people too, and that means they are prone to letting a little bad blood influence the way they call the game.
What can't happen is what happened last night. Lauren Holtkamp can't put her bitterness towards Chris Paul ahead of her obligation to call a fair game. She can't choose to insert herself and potentially become the difference in the outcome when a one possession game is in the waning seconds. Do I think that the Clippers were going to win last night? No, I don't. Lauren Holtkamp is pretty far down on the list of reasons that they lost to a woeful Timberwolves team, but the fact that she's even on the list is a problem in and of itself. Am I going to sit here and tell you that her gender has anything to do with her taking too much offense to an "overt" clap? No, I can't definitively say that, but I can say that a more experienced official doesn't make that call. Not only because Chris Paul's reaction wasn't egregious enough to warrant a technical foul, but because there are certain situations when you swallow your whistle. How can I trust that Lauren Holtkamp will hold herself to a non-partisan standard down the stretch of a tightly contested playoff game when the moment got too big for her down the stretch in early February? How can I have faith that this blowhard will keep her whistle abreast when the situation calls for a little laxness in upholding the rules? The short answer is that I can't. Not because she is a female, but because her past -specifically with CP3- has given me no assurance of that.
Now, a lesser man might say that females are naturally a more spiteful bunch. Someone with less integrity might imply that women are more likely to let their emotions get the best of them. Again, I would never do that. However, I could see someone thinking that Lauren Holtkamp was a tad bit over sensitive in making such a crass call in response to -of all things- an aggressive clap. Some might even use the word resentful or -dare I say it- vindictive to describe her actions. Not me, because I am a progressive, accepting sports fan. I understand that we need females to officiate a sport that consists entirely of males. I applaud the NBA for bringing in a woman to do a job that's been predominantly reserved for men. How could anyone think that this was simply a publicity stunt to prove that sexism doesn't exist in professional sports? It pretty clearly wasn't just a change made to appease the general public. Not only does it enhance the product, but it doesn't even introduce any any unnecessary issues. Obviously she's only an NBA referee for no other reason than her qualifications. Can't you tell by the level of respect between her and Chris Paul?
I guess it's true what they say about pictures speaking 1,000 words...