NBA: Kings guard Rondo apologises for slur about gay referee, says 'This is not who I am'

Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (left).
Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (left). PHOTO: REUTERS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo apologised on Tuesday for using a homophobic slur during a game earlier this month to National Basketball Association referee Bill Kennedy, who came out in the wake of the controversy.

Rondo was issued a one-game ban last week by the NBA for his remark during the Dec 3 game against the Boston Celtics in Mexico City.

"My words towards Bill Kennedy were unacceptable and did not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community," Rondo said on Tuesday.

"I want to be clear, from the bottom of my heart, that I am truly sorry for what I said to Bill. There is no place on or off the court for language that disrespects anyone's sexual orientation.

"That is not who I am or what I believe and I will strive every day to be a better person."

Kennedy, in his 18th season as an NBA referee, was confronted by Rondo after calling two technical fouls and ejecting him from the game. Team-mates had to restrain Rondo.

On Monday, Kennedy told Yahoo Sports: "I am proud to be an NBA referee and I am proud to be a gay man."

Rondo was contrite.

"My actions during the game were out of frustration and emotion, period!" he tweeted. "They absolutely do not reflect my feelings toward the LGBT community. I did not mean to offend or disrespect anyone."