One of the NBA's top referees has come out as gay just days after he was subjected to homophobic slurs during a game.
"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Bill Kennedy told Yahoo Sports late Sunday.
"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," Kennedy said.
Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo was ejected from a Dec. 3 game against the Boston Celtics for "directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official" and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, the NBA said in a statement.
Kennedy and fellow referee Ben Taylor, in an official game report provided to Yahoo, described Rondo as saying, "You're a motherf***ing faggot" and "You're a f***ing faggot, Billy."
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement to Yahoo that he "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.
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