Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Who Cares?

Referee Bill Kennedy, following slur by Rajon Rondo, announces he's gay

Veteran NBA referee Bill Kennedy has announced he is gay.

"I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man," Kennedy told Yahoo Sports. "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." ...

See the whole story here, courtesy of ESPN.

Kicking Back Comments: So before PC Principal comes to find me, the title of the article is not meant to demean Bill Kennedy for announcing he is a homosexual.

My comment is meant to ask, what difference does it make if Rondo made a slur of any type toward a referee? Why should it matter if the particular referee is gay or not? Rondo should get the book thrown at him for his words, period. 

The punishment handed down to Rondo is, by NBA standards, fairly astounding. I believe this is the first time an NBA player has been suspended for comments to a referee in the last 3 or 4 years, where a fine suffices in such cases.

From reports, the comment Rondo made came after he was given a lightning fast pair of technical fouls and was going to get his moneys worth for being run. These comments included a "homophobic slur" in his rant. That is if Rondo knew Kennedy was gay.

This has a couple of dimensions however as the Celtics and Kennedy have some history. Specifically Doc Rivers and Rondo have had other unpleasant conversations with Kennedy in the past, and some reports have it going both ways. Also, Kennedy's sexual orientation was to many an "open secret" to NBA teams and referees alike. While understandably, Kennedy is a private man and did not share this fact publicly, it was apparently known in NBA circles. 

[For any who care to take the flip side of the coin where no one knew of Kennedy's orientation, then frankly this is not an issue at all other than Rondo's bad behavior.]

Why then does it deserve special treatment from the NBA front office?

So we have a player popping off to a referee ... and who used a slur during the tirade ...
What is so unusual?

How many times have we as referees (or in traffic) collectively had our sexuality, gender, race, family relationships, heritage, and just about anything else a player (or other driver) can think of questioned openly?

Please don't misunderstand me, it is not right, and I am not condoning it, but to say it is rare is just factually incorrect.

Is the NBA now going to suspend, not just fine, ANY player who uses that slur without regard to whom it is directed to? If so, why have they not up to this point?

There is a double standard at play here and if the NBA is going to fine players for calling referees names ... that's great and it seems appropriate. If the NBA is going to start playing PC Principal by suspending players for what they think is "insensitive", not so great and are in for a world of trouble. (As one example, they were in Mexico for this game ... what is Rondo called Kennedy a slur in Spanish that he did not understand? Still a suspension?)

If Rondo was really demeaning Kennedy regarding his sexuality, and the NBA can look into his heart and determine that, a single game without pay is not nearly enough punishment for something so heinous. If this was truly the case (as Tom Ziller seems to believe in his recent article) Rondo should go for a very, very, very long time.

Instructive on this is Roberto Alomar and what his words cost him in time and treasure ... or some may say, ultimately gained him in understanding. For those who forgot, not only did Alomar spit on umpire John Hirschbeck but then made reference to his kids, one who just died from ALS and another who at that time was diagnosed with it. Hirschbeck had to be physically restrained from doing physical harm to Alomar the next day by Umpire Legend Jim Joyce.

Interestingly, I wonder if the whole thing actually forced Kennedy to make the public announcement of his homosexuality. As without Rondo getting popped and the NBA making more of it than they have anything in the past regarding dissent, does this even come up?

I for one am not sure, but would hope it was a discussion with Kennedy on such an intensely personal issue and not a way for the new commish to "show force."

For the dissent however, who cares, Rondo was mad and popped off. Throw the book at him and lets move on. If truly the alternative, get Rondo out, and move on.

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