The Only F-Word That Matters (Warning, explicit language below)
“You’re a mother——- faggot. … You’re a f—— faggot, Billy.“
By multiple accounts, this is what Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo said to NBA Referee Billy Kennedy. 11 days following his ejection of Rondo, Kennedy came out as gay. What follows is my hunch – again, my gut feeling – but I would put money on the following:
- I think there’s a good chance the inner circle of the NBA players, coaches, and referees knew of Kennedy’s sexual orientation. There are 64 NBA referees, and they work in groups of 3 on the court. Kennedy’s been a ref for a long 18 years, working alongside many of these folks for quite a long time.
- Reading what Rondo said, I don’t think these were just frustrated vulgarities; these were personal statements directed knowingly at Kennedy.
- There is a connection between this story and Kennedy deciding to come out. Whether or not it was his way of turning this situation into a positive, I don’t know, but I do believe Rondo’s actions influenced Kennedy’s decision to come out, and that sucks. While I’m sure it’s more common than should be the case, a person’s decisions as to when and how to come out should be on his/her terms. Rajon effin’ Rondo shouldn’t play any part in that decision – that’s for sure.
If my gut feeling is correct, then a 1 game suspension is crap. In a televised game, on the NBA stage, a player attacked someone using slurs in front of a crowd and a television audience. Replace “faggot” with most other slurs, and we’re not talking about a one-game suspension. Donald Sterling had to hand over ownership of his team for making racially insensitive remarks to a mistress. Rondo directs homophobic slurs at an official on the court before a crowd and a television audience, and he’s suspended for 1 game. Come on. – PAL
Source: “Rajon Rondo allegedly berated a gay referee, and the punishment feels too soft”, Clinton Yates, The Washington Post (12/14/2015)
TOB: I don’t disagree with anything you said, but I will point out that Rondo was not mic’d up and no one in the television audience heard what he said at the time. In fact, no one seemed to know what he said until 11 days later when they announced the suspension. At that point, someone in the NBA offices leaked the information, which then caused everyone to turn to the videotape to try to confirm what Rondo said by reading his lips.
Now, this doesn’t at all absolve what Rondo said: it was hurtful and hateful. But I don’t think he truly outed Kennedy. NBA players say things to referees during games all the time that we can’t hear, even when we sit close to the court. Rondo probably expected, as many players do, that no one but those directly around him would hear what he said. And if Kennedy’s sexual preference was an open secret in the NBA, as you surmise and I agree, then I don’t think Rondo had any intention or even any real blame in outing Kennedy publicly. He figured anyone wuo heard it already knew. If the league office had not leaked what he said, which I can’t recall them ever doing, then we aren’t having this discussion. I want to reiterate: that does not absolve Rondo of what he said. It was terrible, and as a Kings fan, it was embarrassing and just one more reason being a Kings fan is the absolute worst.
An All Too Familiar Scene
On a lighter note, this is great. A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle dragged his girlfriend to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens last night, and the two of them chronicled the events in a series of amusing tweets. Here are my two favorites:
Source: “Sean Dolittle Dragged His Girlfriend to Star Wars“, Barry Petchesky, Deadspin (12/18/2015)
Audio Recording of Dr. James A. Naismith on Inventing Basketball
The University of Kansas recently released an audio recording James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, appearing on a New York radio show in 1939, about 10 months before his death. It is the only known audio recording of Dr. Naismith. As a 1939 radio interview, it is everything you’d hope for.
The host has an almost comically classic radio voice. Even better, Dr. Naismith sounds like a caricature of an old man in the 1930s. On top of that, it is fascinating to hear Naismith discuss the game he invented nearly 50 years prior (and what a disaster the first attempt was), and marvel at the heights it had reached by 1939. Imagine if he could see the game today. -TOB
Source: “Radio Interview, 1939”, University of Kansas, Released (12/15/2015)
PAL: So…who wrote Dr. Naismith’s script for this? Kidding aside, I love the fact that basketball was invented out of what sounds like a PE teacher thinking, “What the hell am I going to do with these knuckleheads today?”
Can You Blame Them?
Bo Ryan, head basketball coach at Wisconsin, retired right before the start of Big 10 conference play after back-to-back Final Four appearances. For lack of a better term, “tenured” coaches have been doing this a bit more often as of late, most recently Steve Spurrier at South Carolina. Jim Calhoun bounced 6 weeks before the start of the season at UConn, as well. One possible factor for these abrupt retirements: leverage. By checking out in the middle of the season, the coach gives his top assistant coach an opportunity to earn the job as the replacement. Although Wisconsin is likely a top-15 job in college basketball, it’s not going to hire from the outside in the middle of the season:
“Everybody knows, it’s no secret. Every head coach would like their top assistant to be the head coach,” Ryan said. “I wanted to give Coach Gard plenty of time to get the guys ready and to get them into the position where, as a head coach, he has a chance, as every former head coach for their top assistant says, ‘to take a run at the job’. That’s the way this business is, and we accept it.”
I understand. Gard’s been with Ryan forever, and Ryan wants to give his guy a chance. It’s absolutely worth noting that Gard’s father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in November. It seems likely that Ryan held the spot until Gard was ready.
Here’s the thing: The next head coach at Wisconsin is not Bo Ryan’s call. Hiring coaches is the job of the Athletic Director and the university. If Ryan retires at the end of last year, the school has time to put together a wish list. Interview outside candidates. With a mid-season retirement, the school has to – you know – worry about the next game and the immediate season. I get it – and I think I’m fine with it – but it’s a bit overstepping on Ryan’s part. – PAL
Source: “Ryan didn’t quit on Wisconsin; the timing of retirement was calculated”, Rob Dauster, NBCsports.com (12/16/2015)
TOB: When Mike Montgomery began coaching at Cal, I was very excited. He’s a great coach who always gets the most out of his players. He had the most success at Cal as any basketball coach in decades. But he brought his son, John, along as an assistant coach. From early on, there were many rumblings that Mike was only planning to coach a few years and wanted Cal to hire Mike as his successor. I have to say, I would have been pissed. And if I was a Wisconsin fan right now, I’d be pissed. As a basketball coach, you have a job – to coach the team as well as you can. You should not be able to shape the program for years to come. In the law, there’s a concept called the Dead Hand – when you die, you are not allowed to control your assets beyond a certain time. The same should be true of college coaches.
Mom Knows Best
This is short, but funny. A UMass basketball player had been playing poorly – so his mom turned off his cell phone service. In his very next game, he went off for 40 points. Good job, Mom. -TOB
Source: “What Motivated UMass Guard Trey Davis to Score 40 Points Wendesday?: ‘My Mom Turned Off My Phone’”, Daniel Malone, MassLive (12/16/2015)
PAL: Imagine his numbers if she cut his WiFi…
Video of the Week
Mom with great hairdo takes a half court shot for her daughter’s tuition, thinks she misses it, somehow makes it on the bounce, goes wild.
PAL Song of the Week: Will Ferrell & John C. Reilly – “Peace On Earth/Drummer Boy”
Check out our entire playlist here. Not as good as Monica Lang’s breakfast rolls, but – hey – it’s not bad either.
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