“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.”
The league took more than a week before announcing a penalty for Rondo, who will sit out Sacramento’s game against Houston on Tuesday. Yahoo reported that Kennedy and another referee told league investigators that Rondo used profanity and anti-gay comments.
“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,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said. “Rajon has apologized and this is not the sort of behavior we condone nor is it representative of the Sacramento Kings organization.”
Owner Vivek Ranadive also apologized to Kennedy.
Rondo wrote on Twitter that his actions during the game “were out of frustration and emotion, period!”
“They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community,” Rondo added. “I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone.”
The referees union did not return a request for comment. Female official Violet Palmer came out in 2014, announcing that she was marrying her longtime partner.
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