Rajon Rondo Bill Kennedy

Rajon Rondo was ejected from the Kings' Dec. 3 loss to the Celtics in Mexico City after arguing with officials. It was not until Dec. 11 that a one-game suspension was announced for Rondo.

On Monday, the world found out why. Rondo used a homosexual slur toward referee Bill Kennedy, who is gay.

Kennedy publicly came out to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday night.

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

Rajon Rondo

Kennedy, 49, has been an NBA referee for 18 years. Rondo, 29, is in his tenth NBA season.

According to National Basketball Referee's Association general counsel Lee Seham, the game officials' report claimed Kennedy and fellow referee Ben Taylor heard Rondo say after being ejected, "You're a motherf***ing faggot. … You're a f***ing faggot, Billy."

All three officials, Kennedy, Taylor and Bennie Adams, confirmed the report in taped interviews by NBA security on Dec. 4. Adams says he was too far away to hear what Rondo was saying, but he noted Rondo "aggressively pursued" Kennedy.

Seham told Wojnarowski: "The NBA referees stand by Bill Kennedy for the job he does and who he is. We stand against bigotry in all its forms."

Rondo denied the reports and declined to comment to Wojnarowski on Monday. He is the third player to be punished for use of anti-gay slurs, although, the first two players, Joakim Noah and Kobe Bryant, were fined, not suspended. Both apologized for their comments, which came in 2011. Bryant was fined for $100,000 for yelling at Adams. Noah was fined $50,000 for yelling at a fan.

Bill Kennedy Joakim Noah

NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a statement on the incident:

"I wholeheartedly support Bill's decision to live his life proudly and openly. Throughout his 18-year career with the league, Bill has excelled as a referee because of his passion, dedication and courage. Those qualities will continue to serve him well both as a game official and as a positive influence for others. While our league has made great progress, our work continues to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and dignity.

Rondo will miss the Kings' game against the Rockets on Tuesday, forfeiting $86,300 of his $9.5 million salary.

Kennedy's refereeing accomplishments consist of 1,056 regular-season games, 68 playoff games (five NBA Finals games), the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics. According to Yahoo! Sports, he is the lone referee to officiate the NBA All-Star Game, NBA Finals and bronze-medal Olympic game in one calendar year.

Update (5:43 p.m. ET):

Rondo offered an apology on Twitter Monday afternoon:

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac offered their thoughts in a statement:

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-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.