Rajon Rondo’s Anti-Gay Slurs Show Us Who He Really Is

By ·

Rajon Rondo

Media day is not a favorite for Rondo by DGA Productions on Flickr/Creative Commons

Rajon Rondo remained an enigma throughout his entire Celtics career. Tales of his mercurial demeanor were accompanied by charming anecdotes about his social oddities, whether it was his obsession with Connect Four or his proclivity for playing mind games with the media—such as when he announced he was a “nap-time decision” for last season’s opener.

But now, after hurling homophobic epithets at a gay referee and refusing to apologize for it, we have a better idea of who he is: An unrepentant bully who was one of the most miscast team captains in Celtics franchise history.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reports the NBA suspended Rondo for one game after he unleashed a string of anti-gay slurs at referee Bill Kennedy during the Celtics and Kings tilt Dec. 3. Kennedy, who came out in the wake of the incident, ejected Rondo from the contest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLzGIMW1XN4

According to the game officials’ report, which was used by the NBA during its investigation, Rondo screamed: “You’re a mother——- faggot. … You’re a f—— faggot, Billy.”

Rondo declined to speak to the media Monday, instead opting to offer a rationalization for his words on Twitter.

My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period!

— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 14, 2015

They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone.

— Rajon Rondo (@RajonRondo) December 14, 2015

Those string of tweets aren’t an apology, but rather an explanation for Rondo’s hate speech—which is exactly what this is. Why else would you call somebody a “mother——- faggot” without the intention of offending or disrespecting him?

The truth is, Rondo’s actions probably aren’t a rare occurrence in the NBA. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said Monday night he hears that kind of vile, derogatory language “all of the time.” But even if that’s the case, Rondo is the player who was caught. And instead of owning up to his actions, he ran away to his Twitter account.

When faced with the decision last season of either building around Rondo or trading him away, the Celtics chose the latter. This episode confirms they made the right move.

Never mind the fact that the team was 9-14 at the time of deal and is 34-24 since acquiring Isaiah Thomas last February. If the Celtics were going to retain Rondo at the time, they likely would’ve had to sign him to a multi-year contract. That would have meant not just making Rondo the highest-paid player on the team, but anointing the capricious point guard the face of the franchise.

There were plenty of signs then that Rondo wasn’t up to the task: when he got suspended for bumping a referee during a playoff game, or the report that he was a “highly confrontational loner with few friends.” But his homophobic diatribe towards Kennedy, whose sexuality was seemingly known in NBA circles, affirms he’s the opposite of a leader. Leaders promote a message of tolerance, just as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did last month when he chastised a fan for yelling Anti-Muslim rhetoric during a moment of silence for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Despite all of the advancements of the gay rights movement, there isn’t a single openly gay athlete among the more than 3,500 active players in the NFL, NBA, MLB, or NHL. The St. Louis Rams drafted defensive end Michael Sam last year and center Jason Collins came out during the final year of his career, but neither player’s courage sparked a domino effect. There seems to be a disconnect between the social progress of the real world and the machismo that permeates professional sports. Rondo’s hateful words only further contribute to that apparent rift.

At least he didn’t say them with the Celtics “C” still on his jersey.

Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2015/12/15/rajon-rondo-anti-gay-slurs/