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Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for criticizing female referee Lauren Holtkamp on Thursday night after a 105-94 loss at Cleveland.

Paul said that Holtkamp might not be ready for the big leagues after six seasons in the NBA Development League. Paul tried to do damage control on Friday by saying that gender had nothing to do with his criticism by repeatedly saying that it "was about a bad call."

NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts also publicly defended Paul in a statement Friday.

"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. ... Without hesitation, the Players Association stands firmly behind Chris, whose competitiveness may only be exceeded by the strength of his values and his convictions."