Bill Kennedy, a veteran referred in the National Basketball Association, has come out as gay.
Via Yahoo Reports, Kennedy released the following statement in confirming his sexuality to the public:
"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man.
"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."
Soon after Kennedy made his announcement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver offered up full support in a statement of his own:
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. 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.
This revelation is especially relevant due to an incident involving Kennedy and Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo on December 3.
The referee quickly assessed Rondo two technical fouls during that contest, resulting in Rondo's automatic ejection.
But instead of heading to the locker room, Rondo headed straight for Kennedy and - according to multiple witnesses - fired off a series of homophobic insults.
"You're a mother------- faggot. … You're a f------ faggot, Billy," Rondo reportedly screamed at Kennedy.
He was suspended one game in response to his actions.