Bill Kennedy's been an NBA referee for 18 years, and today, in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!, announced for the first time publicly that he's gay.
"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy told Yahoo!. "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 announcement coincides with another Wojnarowski report, revealing that Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo's one-game suspension is the result of Rondo screaming "anti-gay slurs" in Kennedy's direction in a game Dec. 3. Among the statements Rondo allegedly hurled Kennedy's way include the point guard screaming "you're a motherfucking faggot" and "you're a fucking faggot, Billy."
As professional gambler and hardcore NBA fan Haralabos Voulgaris points out, Kennedy attempted to distance himself from Rondo during the game after initially issuing a technical foul, but Rondo continues to pursue Kennedy:
As to whether Rondo knew Kennedy was gay when he used the slurs, Voulgaris—based on first hand knowledge—was sure he did.
Rajon Rondo responds on Twitter:
Rajon Rondo responds again with an official statement through the NBA:
Yesterday, I said that my words toward Bill Kennedy were unacceptable and did not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. Some have interpreted my comments as a non-apology. I want to be clear, from the bottom of my heart that I am truly sorry for what I said to Bill. There is no place on or off the court for language that disrespects anyone's sexual orientation. That is not who I am or what I believe and I will strive every day to be a better person.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.