NBA referee Bill Kennedy comes out after Rajon Rondo abuse

NBA referee Bill Kennedy comes out after an alleged incident in which he suffered homophobic abuse from Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo.
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NBA referee Bill Kennedy has come out as gay after suffering homophobic abuse from Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo during a game earlier this month.

The 47-year-old - one of the game's most respected officials - was allegedly referred to as "a motherfucking faggot" by Rondo after Kennedy ordered him to leave the court for a second technical foul during a game in Mexico City on December 3.

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

Rondo, who initially denied making the comments, was given a one-game suspension by the league for "directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner" after two other officials confirmed Kennedy's report.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said: "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."

Rondo has an estimated salary of $9.5m (£6.3m) for the season, meaning that he will lose $86,300 (£56,900) as a result of the suspension.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talks to the press on February 16, 2013
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