Rondo was ejected from the Sacramento Kings’ game on Dec. 3 against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City for using derogatory words against Kennedy and not leaving the court in a timely matter. He received a one-game suspension eight days later on Dec. 11. Three days later, Kennedy publicly revealed that he is gay, which means the homosexual slurs Rondo used against him stung even more.
Appearing as a guest on “The Vertical Podcast with Woj,” Silver said he was very careful about handling the suspension because of Kennedy’s sexual orientation. He says that had he given Rondo multiple games, it would have drawn attention to the matter and led to speculation about the reason for the harsh punishment.
“Had I gone let’s say to two games from one game, or even possibly to three games, it would have been clear that something else was going on here, not just what was apparent on TV,” Silver told Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“But, while Bill Kennedy was known to be gay by many people in the league, Bill Kennedy had never made that very, very personal decision to publicly come out and announce to the world that he was a gay NBA referee. So, I have to say, in the back of my mind, I was concerned about that.
“It did not seem appropriate to me that I should, by virtue of a bad act by Rajon Rondo, out Bill Kennedy.”
Honestly, had the punishment for Rondo been severe, it would have led me and others to speculate about what the point guard could have said to Kennedy to deserve it. Kennedy’s sexuality would have popped up in my mind as a possible reason. Silver should be commended for considering this when weighing the matter and suspension of Rondo.
Between this and what he did with Donald Sterling, it’s clear that Silver does not hesitate to act swiftly and decisively when he sees fit.