Rajon Rondo has apologized for his gay slur against NBA referee Bill Kennedy on December 3.
Rondo, who will miss the Sacramento Kings-Houston Rockets game Tuesday night under his one-game suspension, says he hurled the slur out of frustration and that he doesn't have any problem with the gay community.
"My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period!" Rondo told TMZ Sports. "They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone."
Added Kings owner Vivek Ranadive: "Rajon's comment is not reflective of the culture of the Sacramento Kings organization or the world we want to live in. He's apologized, and has been suspended by the NBA. On behalf of the team, I apologize to Bill Kennedy for any harm this may have caused."
Monday's news of Kennedy coming out as a gay man, in addition to Rondo's alleged slur against him, has reverberated across the league.
Longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Rondo's insults toward Kennedy disgusting, but not all the way surprising.
"Why would I be surprised? You see it all the time," Pop told the Washington Post. "It's unfortunate, it's disgusting, because Billy is a great guy, and has been a class act on and off the court. As far as anybody's sexual orientation, it's nobody's business. It just shows ignorance to act in a derogatory way toward anybody in the LGBT community. It doesn't make sense. But surprised, of course not. He showed a lot of courage."
Longtime NBA ref Bill Kennedy revealed that he is gay, sending a statement to Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. (Fellow NBA ref Violet Palmer revealed she's gay last year.) Kennedy's announcement comes in the wake of Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo being suspended for one game Friday after he aimed anti-gay slurs at Kennedy following his ejection from a December 3 game. Rondo reportedly called Kennedy a "f****t." He will serve his one-game suspension during the Kings' home game against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
"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."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver applauded Kennedy's decision to come out and the work he has done for the league over nearly 20 years.
"I wholeheartedly support Bill's decision to live his life proudly and openly," 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."
Kennedy reportedly didn't receive either on December 3, when Rondo ripped the veteran ref following his ejection from the game.
"You're a motherf**king f****t. … You're a f**king f****t, Billy," the refs said Rondo hurled at Kennedy.
The NBA issued a statement saying that Rondo was suspended for a game for "directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner."
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