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NBA Referee Bill Kennedy Reveals He’s Gay After Rajon Rondo Incident

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

NBA referee Bill Kennedy has revealed that he’s gay following a recent on-court incident with Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo that involved Rondo hurling anti-gay slurs in Kennedy’s direction after an ejection, according to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski.

Kennedy released a short statement to 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.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement supporting the decision. Kennedy, who’s been officiating in the league for 18 years, is now the second NBA referee to come out. Violet Palmer did so as well in 2014 when she got married to her longtime partner.

This announcement comes after Rondo’s verbal attack that occurred on Dec. 3 in Mexico City. Kennedy assessed Rondo two technical fouls and threw him out of the game, but the point guard didn’t leave the floor and instead “began stalking” the referee:

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.”

Rondo was suspended one game for his actions after an investigation, and although he “apologized” on Twitter Monday afternoon, he didn’t speak to the media:

The Kings released an official statement:

Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears says Rondo won’t face any further discipline.

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