Bill Kennedy, NBA Referee Rajon Rondo Targeted With Gay Slur, Comes Out

Rajon Rondo was suspended Tuesday for directing a homosexual slur toward a referee, and that referee has revealed he’s gay.

Bill Kennedy, one of the NBA’s longest-tenured referees, came out publicly to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday night. Kennedy did not comment on the incident with Rondo.

“I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Wojnarowski. “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 said in a statement to Yahoo! Sports that he fully supports Kennedy.

“I wholeheartedly support Bill’s decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Silver said. “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.”

The news makes Rondo’s actions that much more problematic, as the Sacramento Kings guard “aggressively pursued referee Bill Kennedy and had to be restrained by teammates and escorted off the floor by Sacramento team security” during the team’s loss to the Boston Celtics on Dec. 3, Wojnarowski reported. An officials’ report used in the investigation that was provided to Wojnarowski stated Rondo used a homosexual slur that starts with an “F” and directed it toward Kennedy multiple times after being ejected.

Thumbnail photo via Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo during the second half against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena.

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