Rajon Rondo Anti-gay Slur Leads To NBA Ref Coming Out

Rajon Rondo Anti-gay Slur Leads To NBA Ref Coming Out
Media Day is not a favorite of Rondo DGA Productions / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Rajon Rondo, the Sacramento Kings point guard, called veteran NBA referee Bill Kennedy a gay slur after being ejected and subsequently suspended by his team earlier this month.


In the wake of the incident, Kennedy has come out as gay. “I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man. 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,” the veteran ref told Yahoo Sports.

The incident involving Rondo took place during the second half of a game between Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics in Mexico City on December 3. After Rondo was given two technical fouls and ejected by Kennedy, the point guard approached the referee and began yelling at him. As he was being pulled away by teammates, Rondo called Kennedy a gay slur. Videos of the encounter reveal that Rondo used the expletives: “You’re a mother——- faggot. … You’re a f—— faggot, Billy.”

Earlier today, Rajon Rondo tweeted an apology:

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Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, issued a statement Monday in support of Kennedy.

“I wholeheartedly support Bill’s decision to live his life proudly and openly. 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,” Silver was quoted as saying by Yahoo Sports.

Though Rajon Rondo is the first player to be suspended for using ant-gay slurs, he isn’t the first NBA player to go down this path. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls center, was fined $50,000 during the 2011 playoffs for a slur towards a heckling fan.  Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using an anti-gay slur toward a referee earlier that season. Both players apologized for their hateful comments.