Rajon Rondo suspended for homophobic words toward gay NBA referee

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After 18 NBA seasons which included officiating 1,056 regular-season, 68 playoff games, All-Star games and Olympic games, NBA referee Bill Kennedy told Yahoo Sports he was gay.

“I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night.

Kennedy self-identified after Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo received a suspension, on Dec. 11, for harassing Kennedy during a Dec. 3 game.

Rondo refused to leave the court after receiving his second technical foul against the Boston Celtics in a regular-season contest held in Mexico City.

Rondo erupted in a rant of homophobic-slurs, according to multiple referees interviewed by the NBA after the incident.

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——- fa***t. … You’re a f—— fa***t, Billy.”

According the Yahoo Sports report, Rondo proceeded to aggressively pursue Kennedy around the court before teammates restrained him.

The league followed procedure by allowing two independent experts to review the incident. They confirmed the referees’ accounts and this is why it took a week to suspend Rondo, according to Yahoo.

Rondo becomes the third player disciplined for homophobic slurs. Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah were both fined during the 2010-11 season, in separate incidents.

Commissioner Adam Silver supported Kennedy as a referee and person, in a statement issued Monday. Kennedy is the second openly-gay referee, as Violet Palmer revealed her sexual orientation in 2014.

As for Rondo, the Kings guard issued a statement via Twitter.

The Kings will be without the starting guard for Tuesday’s matchup versus the Houston Rockets.

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Pete D. Camarillo loves West Coast Sports and is currently a credentialed Lakers writer. The 2015 CSUN Journalism grad is published on Clutch Points, Full Press Coverage, Fansided, Cover32, Inquisitr, Elite Daily and several print publications. He enjoys writing about the free agencies, drafts and general news from the NBA and NFL. Pete is currently a full-time media relations professional for Business Wire and he is active in ONA, SPJ, NABJ and AAJA organizations. He also did community relations with the L.A. Clippers during the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter @petecertified.


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