The Slatest

NBA Ref Says He’s Gay, Was Reportedly Target of Star’s Homophobic Tirade in Recent Game

Bill Kennedy NBA referee
Bill Kennedy at a May 18, 2010, game.

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Longtime NBA referee Bill Kennedy is gay, he told a Yahoo Sports reporter in the wake of a Dec. 3 incident in which he was reportedly the subject of a homophobic tirade by Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo. Monday’s Yahoo article by Adrian Wojnarowski cites a transcript of Rondo’s alleged remarks in an internal NBA document:

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.”

As Wojnarowski’s wording implies, Rondo—who was suspended one game for his behavior—is said to have made the apparent comments about Kennedy only after he’d already been ejected.

Kennedy is not the first major-sport official to come out; MLB umpire Dale Scott and NBA ref Violet Palmer have also done so.

Said Kennedy to Yahoo: “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.”