After being ejected from a game against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 3, Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo received a one game suspension for berating referee Bill Kennedy and not leaving the floor in a timely manner. Details of the incident have come out, via Yahoo! Sports, with evidence that Rondo used a gay slur.
Via Adrian Wojnarowski’s piece:
In the game officials’ report used as part of the NBA’s investigation – which includes details provided to Yahoo Sports from National Basketball Referee’s Association general counsel Lee Seham – Kennedy and fellow referee Ben Taylor described Rondo’s post-ejection diatribe as including the statements: “You’re a mother——- faggot. … You’re a f—— faggot, Billy.”
Kennedy has followed up with an admittance that he is gay, which is also quoted in Wojnarowski’s article.
“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.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has offered 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 is the first NBA player to be suspended for use of an anti-gay slur, which he will serve Tuesday night. Previous fines were given to Kobe Bryant ($100,000) and Joakim Noah ($50,000) during the 2010-11 regular season and playoffs.
Some day we’ll get to a point where public figures coming out as gay is not big news, but we aren’t there yet. If Rondo’s outburst somehow gave Kennedy to courage to make his announcement, that should go down as an unintended result.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.