NBA Suspends Rajon Rondo for Homophobic Rant Against Gay Referee

18-year veteran official Bill Kennedy recently came out as gay, making him the league’s second openly gay referee

The NBA has suspended Rajon Rondo for one game after the Sacramento Kings guard launched into a homophobic rant against veteran referee Bill Kennedy, who recently announced he is gay.

Rondo also approached Kennedy in a threatening manner and failed to leave the court in a timely manner after being ejected from a Dec. 3 game against his former team, the Boston Celtics.

Kennedy came out as gay in a statement sent to Yahoo Sports on Sunday night. He is the second openly gay active NBA official along with Violet Palmer, as well as the third openly gay active official in pro sports, since MLB umpire Dale Scott is also gay.

“I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man,” Kennedy said in his statement. “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 offered his support for Kennedy in a statement sent to the entire league.

“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,” Silver said. “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.”

According to Yahoo Sports, an NBA investigation revealed that Rondo called Kennedy “a motherfucking faggot” and “a fucking faggot” after receiving two technical fouls and subsequently being ejected from the Kings-Celtics game. A second referee confirmed the exchange, while game footage reveals that Rondo had to be restrained by teammates and escorted off the court by Kings security.

Rondo, who will serve his one-game suspension Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, took to Twitter to address the unfortunate incident.

“My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period! They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone.”

NBA insider Bill Simmons wrote on Twitter that Rondo’s suspension was far too light, but the league was in a PR pickle, as it had never before suspended a player for language. In 2011, Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 for directing a homophobic slur against an official, while Joakim Noah later drew a $50,000 fine for the same offense.

Expect a public apology from Rondo, whose poor attitude drew him a one-way ticket out of Boston and has seen him bounce around the league the last couple of years.