Damage control? Chris Paul only says Thursday night “was about a bad call’

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After getting lambasted in the press over saying female referee Lauren Holtkam’s current career “might not be for her,” Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul had a very brief explanation of Friday:

“Last night was about a bad call,” referring to his technical foul given to him by Holtkam, and nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman.

That answer was repeated by Paul three times before a Clippers staffer chimed in with “Anybody have any basketball questions?” per CBS Sports.

Paul’s latest words, well short of an apology, will likely do nothing for the criticism leveled at him.

Head coach Doc Rivers made up for Paul’s lack of an openness on the matter, while still giving Paul the benefit of the doubt:

“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 [discussed]. 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. That’s just an issue that you disagree with the tech. It probably should have been left that way. But knowing Chris, I think that’s what he meant more. I don’t think he meant that it was a gender issue at all.”

“I think the players, the coaches, we all can do better,” Rivers said. “But so can they. And I think that’s really important. It’s funny; the veteran officials are pretty good at it, the younger guys are not. And they need to be. ‘Cause that defuses things more to me. ‘I missed a call’ — there’s nothing wrong with saying that. ‘I had the call right’ — there’s nothing wrong with saying that. But a lot of times it’s nothing. And I think that’s what gets guys most of the time. Or it’s a smart quip. I think they’re working on it, I know that. I think overall the communication should be better for both sides.”

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