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NBA ref Bill Kennedy reveals he is gay after alleged Rajon Rondo slur

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The Sports Xchange
NBA Referee Bill Kennedy announced he is gay two weeks after Sacramento Kings player Rajon Rondo yelled a gay slur at him. Kennedy is shown here in 2011 with Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. UPI/Brian Kersey
NBA Referee Bill Kennedy announced he is gay two weeks after Sacramento Kings player Rajon Rondo yelled a gay slur at him. Kennedy is shown here in 2011 with Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. UPI/Brian Kersey | License Photo

NBA referee Bill Kennedy announced he is gay on Monday, less than two weeks after he was reportedly called a gay slur during a game by Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo.

Kennedy, who is in his 18th season as an NBA official, came out in an interview with Yahoo Sports.

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"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy told the website. "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, 49, made his declaration just three days after Rondo drew a one-game suspension from the NBA for "directing a derogatory and offensive term towards a game official and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection."

RELATED Sacramento Kings' Rajon Rondo suspended for one game

Rondo received two technical fouls and was ejected from a game against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City on Dec. 3.

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After the second technical, Rondo continued to berate Kennedy and reportedly used a gay slur while being pulled away by teammates.

"Rajon's comment was disrespectful and offensive, and we wholeheartedly disapprove of any language that discriminates or disparages others based on sexual orientation or anything else," Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac said in a statement. "Rajon has apologized and this is not the sort of behavior we condone nor is it representative of the Sacramento Kings organization."

{b:FROM THE PRESS BOX: } ---The Detroit Pistons recalled guards Spencer Dinwiddie and Darrun Hilliard from the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League.

Dinwiddie has played in nine games for Detroit this season, averaging 4.4 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 12.3 minutes per game. Hilliard has appeared in seven games, averaging 3.0 points and 0.9 rebounds in 6.5 minutes per game.

TENNIS

Serena Williams was named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year.

The 34-year-old American is the first female athlete honored on her own by the magazine in more than 30 years.

Williams won three Grand Slam events - Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon - en route to a 53-3 record and her seventh WTA Player of the Year award. She now has 21 career Grand Slam titles, one behind Steffi Graf.

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"This year was spectacular," Serena Williams said in a statement. "For Sports Illustrated to recognize my hard work, dedication and sheer determination with this award gives me hope to continue on and do better. As I always say, it takes a village - not just one person. This is not just an accomplishment for me, but for my whole team and all my fans. I am beyond honored."

Williams was ranked No. 1 throughout 2015 and won a WTA-high five titles. Williams' bid for the calendar year Grand Slam fell just short when she lost to Roberta Vinci in the U.S. Open semifinals.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Mississippi defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche was charged with possession of marijuana following a fall from a hotel wall on Saturday night.

The Atlanta Police Department released a report Monday and said seven rolled marijuana cigarettes in a hotel room were tied to Nkemdiche, considered a likely top-10 draft pick by NFLDraftScout.com, at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, Ga.

Nkemdiche sustained cuts and was admitted to an area hospital Saturday when he fell approximately 15 feet down a wall at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead.

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Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement Sunday: "We are still learning about the matter, but obviously Robert's wellbeing is our greatest concern."

NHL

Anaheim Ducks forward Nate Thompson has been suspended three games for an illegal check to the head of Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Justin Faulk, the NHL's Department of Player Safety announced.

The incident occurred at 6:25 of the first period in the Hurricanes' 5-1 win on Friday night. Thompson was assessed a major penalty for elbowing and a game misconduct, while Faulk was able to stay in the game.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Thompson will forfeit $25,806.45. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.

---The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled forwards Joel Vermin and Yanni Gourde from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.

The 5-foot-10, 187-pound Vermin has played in five games with the Lightning this season, recording one assist. The 5-9, 167-pound Gourde has not appeared in an NHL game.

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