Bill Kennedy, a top referee in the
National Basketball Association (NBA), has announced that he's gay.
“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.”
In a statement, NBA Commissioner Adam
Silver offered his support.
“I wholeheartedly support Bill's
decision to live his life proudly and openly,” Silver
told Yahoo! Sports. “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's announcement comes just weeks
after Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo unleashed a torrent of
anti-gay slurs toward Kennedy. The incident occurred after Kennedy
ejected Rondo from a game on December 3. A second referee told
investigators that he heard Rondo calling Kennedy “a fucking
faggot.” The NBA suspended Rondo on Friday.