NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Paul says his criticism of a female rookie referee “was about a bad call” and the executive director of the NBA Players Association said it had nothing to do with gender.

The Los Angeles Clippers guard criticized Lauren Holtkamp on Thursday night after a loss at Cleveland, saying she might not be ready for the big leagues after six seasons in the NBA Development League.

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Asked about it Friday before the Clippers played in Toronto, Paul said: “Like I said, last night was about a bad call. That’s it.”

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Union head Michele Roberts backed Paul in a strongly worded statement, noting his role in making her the first woman to head a North American major sports union last summer.

Roberts said: “Any suggestion that Chris Paul would ever conduct himself in a disrespectful manner toward women is utterly ridiculous, outrageous and patently false.”

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