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After NBA Star Called Him a Slur, Ref Reveals He's Gay

'I am proud to be a ref ... proud to be a gay man,' says Bill Kennedy
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2015 7:01 PM CST
After NBA Star Called Him a Slur, Ref Reveals He's Gay
Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl talks with official Bill Kennedy during an NBA game, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(Newser) – Referees are used to being called blind and stupid, and NBA refs take that heat from guys a foot or so taller than them, but in the case of Bill Kennedy it was a gay slur hurled his way in the heat of the moment that caused him to come out, and rather gracefully. "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."

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The player in question is apparently Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo, whom Kennedy ejected from a Dec. 3 game. Rondo responded by "aggressively" pursuing Kennedy, per a fellow official, "and had to be restrained by teammates and escorted off the floor by Sacramento team security." The NBA has suspended Rondo for a single game, which will set him back $86,300 of his $9.5 million salary this season. He apologized for comments made "out of frustration and emotion" via Twitter on Monday afternoon. "I wholeheartedly support Bill's decision to live his life proudly and openly," league commissioner Adam Silver tells Yahoo, adding that "our work continues to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity." (Read more Rajon Rondo stories.)

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