NBA referee Bill Kennedy announced today that he is gay, telling Yahoo! Sports Sunday night that “I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man.”

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Kennedy has been an NBA ref for the last 18 years, and has officiated over 1,000 regular season games, including several NBA Finals match-ups. How does Rajon Rondo factor into this news? Well, on December 3rd, he was ejected from the Kings vs Celtics game in Mexico City by Kennedy, and before leaving the court, according to an official report from the NBA, Rondo threw several anti-gay slurs at the tenured ref.

“You’re a mother———- faggot. You’re a f——— faggot, Billy.”


Here’s video footage of the incident.

On Friday, days before Kennedy’s announcement, the NBA announced that it would be suspending Rondo for one game–tomorrow’s game against the Houston Rockets–and the general consensus was that it was much too harsh a punishment for a mere ejection.

Today’s news, however, has shed some light on that. Here’s Adam Silver‘s statement regarding 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.

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