Ejected NBA Player Berates Referee with F-Bombs. Ref responds by Coming Out of the Closet.

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    Dec 14, 2015 11:52 PM GMT
    The news cycle began innocently enough...



    Sactown Royalty (SB Nation)(December 11) The NBA announced (Friday) that (Sacramento) Kings guard Rajon Rondo has been suspended for one-game for berating an official during the Kings-Celtics game in Mexico City on December 3rd. Rondo was ejected from that game midway through the third quarter.

    The official NBA press release claims that Rondo directed a "derogatory and offensive term" towards the official and also did not leave the court in a timely manner upon being ejected. That may very well be the case, but it's a bit surprising that it took the league this long to levy a punishment on Rondo. It's been over a week since this happened and the Kings have played four games since then. The NBA definitely knew what Rondo said and did soon after that game ended, and you would hope that in the future a punishment would come in a more timely fashion.

    That was on Friday. Today, we got a little more understanding behind the league's investigative deliberation.


    Adrian Wojnarowski (Yahoo! Sports)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------- f****t. … You're a f------ f****t, Billy."

    Well, that was enough abuse for Bill Kennedy to finally take a stand.

    Yahoo! Sports"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. "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."

    Yahoo! Sports
    "I wholeheartedly support Bill's decision to live his life proudly and openly," (NBA Commissioner, Adam) Silver told Yahoo Sports in a statement. "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."

    Rondo has a contentious relationship with many refs throughout the league, but his former NBA coach may be the source of his (likely, most recent) bigoted outburst, this time to Kennedy.


    Red's Army (May 2010)Tim Donaghy, the former NBA ref busted for gambling on NBA games and author of some of the wildest claims I've heard in some time… dropped another bomb last night on the Celtics Late Night Show.

    According to Donaghy, Bill Kennedy is gay. And according to Donaghy, Doc Rivers once questioned Kennedy's sexuality during a game, and since then, Doc has been a target of Kennedy's. Here's the transcript of the question and answer, which came at the 67 minute mark of (that) night's show:

    Question: one of the referees I've been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy, every time he has a Celtics game I almost know that we're not getting calls. Is his relationships with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about.

    Donaghy: That's a difficult question for me to answer because I certainly don't want to offend anybody… I'm just gonna come out and say it like it is. It's no secret on the staff that Bill Kennedy is a homosexual… I don't have any ill will towards gays or lesbians, but it was no secret that he's a homosexual. It was known around the league, it was obvious during a game Doc Rivers questioned his sexual orientation and I think that has stuck with Kennedy over the years and he has no love for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

    It is a wild claim that he made after being asked why it seemed Doc is targeted by Kennedy in games. It's coming from Tim Donaghy, so I wouldn't just take it with a grain of salt… I'd take it with the whole shaker.

    Doc Rivers now coaches the LA Clippers, a team that knows all about letting bigotry go unheeded until it's reaches the height of absurdity.

    Here's one of those incidents from 2009 that may have sparked the Kennedy-Rondo/Rivers feud. This "staredown" encounter got Kennedy fined.


    Unfortunately for Kennedy, some online defenders of Rondo (and bigots at large) are taking Donaghy's unsubstantiated assertion that Rivers' anti-gay commentary spoiled Kennedy's ability to be unbiased (toward bigoted players and staff) on the court... to suggest Kennedy therefore is worthy of punishment, in turn, for being a "biased" referee. It's quite a logical bridge to leap, at best, and classical blame-shifting at worst.

    It is sad that, way too often, it takes a blatantly homophobic act (like Rondo's) for a publicly closeted individual to take the leap to come out of the closet. Hopefully for many more going forward, there will be rosier circumstances that encourage LGBT citizens to come out, rather than be dragged out by gossipers and homophobes.
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    Dec 15, 2015 12:00 AM GMT
    Yahoo! SportsDuring the league's investigation, Rondo denied he made the comments. After a Rondo spokesperson declined comment about the matter when reached by Yahoo Sports earlier Monday, Rondo apologized late Monday afternoon on Twitter for making the slur, saying his actions "were out of frustration and emotion." Kings officials also condemned Rondo's comments.

    Rondo is the third NBA player to be punished for the use of anti-gay slurs, but the first to be suspended. Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $50,000 during the 2011 playoffs for making a slur toward a heckling fan, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for using an anti-gay slur toward a referee earlier that same season. Both players apologized for the comments.

    Rondo – who is making $9.5 million this season – is suspended for Sacramento's game against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. He will lose $86,300 in game salary for the suspension.

    Kennedy is the second NBA referee to make a public announcement about being gay. Referee Violet Palmer revealed she is gay upon getting married to her longtime partner, Tanya Stine, in 2014.
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    Dec 15, 2015 5:14 PM GMT
    My sympathies are entirely with the ref - and not just because he's a good looking guy who looks like he'd be a lot of fun to hang with. There is WAAAAY too much leeway given to athletes, particularly the pros, in disciplinary matters, and I congratulate Kennedy for what he did both professionally and personally. It's just a matter of time before Rondo self-destructs and we read about him being convicted of some or other crime.

    BTW, one of my aunts by marriage was one of the first woman refs in Hoosier basketball, and was honored for it in a ceremony in the Butler Fieldhouse several years ago. She's a cool lady, lots of fun, and she and her partner have been together for over 40 years. Oh, and did I mention she's a lesbian? Who'd have known! icon_cool.gif
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    Dec 15, 2015 10:45 PM GMT
    "So, yeah, what I wuz trying to say wuz..."

    Ragin' Rajon Rondo"Yesterday, I said my words toward Bill Kennedy were unacceptable [DAYUMM EDIT: No, Rondo, that was not what you said yesterday] and did not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community," Rondo said. "Some [DAYUMM EDIT: No, pretty much all] 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."

    That's better. But we'll see if your daily strife shows.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4834

    Dec 16, 2015 12:42 AM GMT
    Unfortunately young people often see spectator sports players as rôle models even though the players too often are not good rôle models. The players should at least act like gentlemen.

    It is difficult to evaluate apologies. Sometimes they are genuine, but sometimes apology givers are sorry only that they have been caught and are apologizing simply to escape the consequences of their behavior.