NBA referee Bill Kennedy announced today that he is gay following the suspension of Sacremento Kings guard, Rajon Rondo. Back on Dec. 3, Rondo was ejected from a game by Kennedy and allegedly used homophobic slurs while physically approaching the official.
Kennedy, 49, is an 18-year veteran of the NBA referee corps. No stranger to confrontation, Kennedy reportedly walked to the other side of the arena after Rondo, 29, had to be held back by security and his own teammates after receiving a double technical foul call. While Rondo denied calling Kennedy the slurs, other witnesses said they heard something of the sort.
The announcement was made via Yahoo Sports and delivered to writer Adrian Wojnarowski.
From Yahoo Sports:
I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. “I am following in the footsteps of others who have self-identified in the hopes that will send a message to young men and women in sports that you must allow no one to make you feel ashamed of who you are.”
Kennedy declined further comment on his announcement.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver delivered a statement of support for Kennedy
“I wholeheartedly support Bill’s decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Silver told Yahoo Sports in a statement. “Throughout his 18-year career with the league, Bill has excelled as a referee because of his passion, dedication and courage. Those qualities will continue to serve him well both as a game official and as a positive influence for others. While our league has made great progress, our work continues to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.”
Rondo, a notoriously moody player, was facing off against his former team, the Boston Celtics in a losing contest when the alleged incident happened.
According to a fellow referee and a report overseen by the National Basketball Referee’s Association general counsel, Rondo said, “You’re a mother——- faggot. … You’re a f—— faggot, Billy.”
The NBA handed down a one-game suspension for Rondo to be served this Tuesday as his team takes on the Houston Rockets. Rondo took to Twitter to apologize for his words and to the LGBTQ community.
My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period!
— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 14, 2015
They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone. — Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 14, 2015
SOURCE: Yahoo Sports| PHOTO CREDIT: Getty