By now, we’ve all heard about Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo’s gay slur directed at referee Bill Kennedy. Kennedy recently told Yahoo Sports that he is proud to be an NBA official and is proud to be a gay man.
Rondo received two technicals and was ejected from the game on December 3 before being suspended one game without pay, effectively a light slap on the wrist for something that really has no place in the league.
Rondo will serve his suspension tonight.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Rondo’s comments unfortunate.
“It’s unfortunate,” Popovich said. “It’s disgusting, because Billy, he is a great guy. He’s been a class act on and off the court. And as far as anyone’s sexual orientation, it’s just nobody’s business. It just shows ignorance to act in a derogatory way toward anybody in the LGBT community. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Today, Rondo released a statement further clarifying an apology he made yesterday.
Yesterday, I said that my words toward Bill Kennedy were unacceptable and did not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. Some have interpreted my comments as a non-apology. I want to be clear, from the bottom of my heart that I am truly sorry for what I said to Bill. There is no place on or off the court for language that disrespects anyone’s sexual orientation. That is not who I am or what I believe and I will strive every day to be a better person.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Vlade Divac offered up apologies almost immediately, while Rondo took to Twitter to say his comments were out of frustration and emotion.
Rondo is no rookie, and he doesn’t need to be handled with kid gloves. He’s a 29-year-old man that should know better. I get that in the heat of the game, certain things can be said, and emotion and adrenaline are at a high. I can even understand making some mistakes albeit with an immediate, genuine apology, but Rondo took just under two weeks to actually formally apologize to Kennedy.
A one game suspension and an apology after 12 days is hardly the best precedent to set in this case.