Bill Kennedy is not the first, and most certainly won’t be the last, referee or sports person in the NBA to come out. But his coming out is a little different. And it is just as special as any other coming out story sports has seen in the past few years.

As I received the news of Kennedy's coming out on Twitter during my fifth-period class on Monday, I felt different emotions. I was sorry for Kennedy that he had to experience something like Rajon Rondo using gay slurs against him on the court. A large number of LGBT people have been called a f—–, myself included. Being called a name so vulgar and terrible is almost unforgivable.
When someone calls you a f—–, you feel so helpless, alone, and inhuman. Gay people can't change the fact that they are gay, and when someone goes out of their way to beat us down and dehumanize us, it is emotionally scarring. Nobody should have to go through what Kennedy did. He is an 18-year, dedicated NBA referee, who has gone to officiate games in the NBA Finals, FIBA World Championships and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Referees do get a lot of hate during games, and sometimes, things can be said during the heat of a moment. I have played both basketball and coached, and there are times where I want to berate the referees. There are times where the referees can dictate and change the control of the game, but when they make a call, very little can be done. That is why I have never seen the point in arguing with a referee. No matter the circumstance, what Rondo said is completely unacceptable and should have no place in the NBA, let alone any part in society.

I was disgusted by Rondo's choice of words and his comments — he failed to apologize immediately. By not speaking to the media and realizing he was wrong, he cast himself in a worse light. Rondo should not need time to say he was sorry. Rondo was a bully. If you condone what Rondo said, you side with any name-caller or bully who has ever said anything mean-spirited. If he knew what he did was wrong, he should have acknowledged it at the first opportunity he had with the media and maybe I could find a way to forgive him.

Late on Monday, he did say on Twitter that his comments were "were out of frustration and emotion." People often say things that they don't mean in an intense situation, but to go out of your way to attack the person's sexuality, or something he cannot change about himself is as low of a blow as there is in the book. It's easy for me to forgive someone when he or she knows they are wrong, but Rondo's response makes it harder to forgive him. All we can do now is hope that he realizes what he did was wrong and learn from his mistakes so that it does not happen again.

In every bad situation, I always try to find something positive, and Bill Kennedy coming out and acknowledging that he is gay is the positive thing. Kennedy has been out to some people in the NBA, so this was not a total surprise. He has clearly been comfortable with his sexuality for a long time. Kennedy did not feel that the need to come out until now, which is fair. Most people do not feel the need to share their sexuality, and that is nobody's business. Kennedy was out to people in his circles. But he saw a need and an opportunity to share his sexuality and make an impact; that is why Kennedy's coming out matters.

He isn't coming out to the public for himself, he is coming out to try to put attention on the rampant homophobia that still exists in the sports world. As much as we hate to admit it, homophobia and LGBT discrimination are still issues both inside and outside the sports world. Rondo verbally abused him and attacked his character, and now Bill Kennedy is standing up for himself. He is fighting for himself and who he is, and there should be no problem with that whatsoever.

Thank you Bill Kennedy.

Jeremy Brener lives in Houston. He can be reached via email ([email protected]) or Twitter (@BrenerJeremy).

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