Bill Kennedy, one of the NBA’s top referees’ has come out as gay, saying he is “proud to be an NBA referee” and “proud to be a gay man.”
The five-time NBA finals referee is now the second NBA referee to come out as gay following fellow referee Violet Palmer.
Speaking with Yahoo Sports, Kennedy said, “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 18-season veteran was recently subjected to Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo anti-gay outburst, after Kennedy ejected him from a game against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City December 3
As a result, Rondo received a one-game suspension as punishment for a profanity-laden tirade, in which he called Kennedy a “faggot.”
NBA officials explained in a statement that Rondo had been suspended for “directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner.”
Rondo who is the first NBA player to be suspended for using an anti-gay slur and has since denied using the homophobic language, despite an independent expert review confirming the incident occurred.
Adam Silver who is the NBA’s commissioner issued a supportive statement on Kennedy’s coming-out saying, “I wholeheartedly support Bill’s decision to live his life proudly and openly.”
He added, “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.”
Last Updated on Dec 16, 2015