NEW YORK (AFP) - Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul was fined US$25,000 (S$34,000) by the NBA for public criticism of officiating Saturday, two days after he criticised female referee Lauren Holtkamp after a loss at Cleveland.
Paul said Friday that his remarks were simply anger at a bad call in the moments after a 105-94 defeat and not a jibe at the gender of one of the two women working as referees in the league.
"Last night was about a bad call, that's all," said Paul after social media decried his comments as sexist.
Paul's anger stemmed from a technical foul he received from Holtkamp in Thursday's game that he dubbed "ridiculous."
The disgruntled Clippers were slapped with five technical fouls in the third quarter of the game.
Holtkamp, in her first full NBA season, assessed Paul a technical foul when he questioned her decision to stop play after the Clippers tried to inbound the ball quickly following a Cleveland free throw.
"That's terrible," Paul said. "There's no way that can be a technical. We try to get the ball out quick every time down the court and when we did that she said 'Uh-uh' and I said 'Why uh-uh?' and she gave me a tech. That's ridiculous.
"If that's the case, then this might not be for her."
The NBA Referees Association promptly chastised Paul for "personal and unprofessional" comments and added," the NBRA deplores the personal and unprofessional comments made by Chris Paul. She belongs."