The inclusion of gay men in professional sports still has a long way to go as 2015 comes to a conclusion. Still far too many men and women feel it necessary to keep their sexuality hidden rather flaunt it freely due to the exclusion that often takes place. It often takes a brave individual to stand up and be proud of who they are.
A brave individual like NBA referee Bill Kennedy.
Kennedy chose to come out publicly to Yahoo Sports on Sunday, revealing that he is a gay man in the sports world and that he is extremely proud of who he is.
%shareLinks-quote=""I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy told Yahoo Sports on Sunday night." type="spreadWord"%
"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."
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Kennedy's declaration didn't come easily. In fact, he had been an NBA official for 18 seasons prior to making his sexuality public. However, Kennedy could no longer keep his lifestyle private after the suspension of Rajon Rondo on Friday.
The NBA suspended Rondo for one game without pay after his tirade on December 3rd. In that game, Kennedy issued Rondo a technical foul for arguing. Then, when the guard continued to stare him down, Kennedy gave Rondo a second technical, ejecting him from the game.
See photos of Bill Kennedy over recent NBA seasons
In the press release for the suspension, the NBA cited Rondo for, "a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection." However, tapes of the testimony of all game officials confirmed that the terms were homophobic in nature and were well beyond typical berating of a referee.
As such, it was only a matter of time before questions arose from the media about the nature of the comments. By getting out in front of it, Kennedy shows his strength of character and his resolve to live his life as he sees fit.