Donaghy: Rivers ‘questioned’ Ref’s Sex Preference

Sunday night disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy appeared on a podcast hosted by Celtics bloggers Nick Gelso and Brandon Paul on

Doc Rivers Bill Kennedy

During his two-hour guest appearance, Donaghy was asked the following:

One of the referees I’ve been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy, every time he has a Celtics game I almost know that we’re not getting calls. Is his relationships with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about.

Donaghy’s response to the question was unexpected, to say the least.


That’s a difficult question for me to answer because I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. I’m just gonna come out and say it like it is. It’s no secret on the staff that Bill Kennedy is a homosexual.

I don’t have any ill will towards gays or lesbians, but it was no secret that he’s a homosexual.

It was known around the league, it was obvious during a game Doc Rivers questioned his sexual orientation and I think that has stuck with Kennedy over the years and he has no love for Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics.

You can listen to Donaghy’s comment by scrolling to the 67:00 mark of the interview:

In April, 2009, Rivers was fined $25,000 for a public “rant” against Kennedy after a loss to the Bulls.Rivers said of the situation that led to his postgame protest about Kennedy:

“The technical on which I got thrown out was the most unprofessional technical by a ref I’ve ever had. He stood there and goaded me and goaded me and stared at me.

Look at the film. I actually walked away. He asked me, ‘Where do you want the ball?’ And I said, ‘Ask them,’ talking about my players. That’s my right to say that, and he walked away.

“He stood there and stared me down and stared me down and goaded me until I turned around and said, ‘What?’ That’s when I got thrown out of the game. In a [5-point] game? Think about that.”

In an extraordinary move, the NBA also announced at the time that the league had fined Kennedy for his role in the situation that led to the coach’s postgame outburst.

Bill Simmons Tweet about Bill Kennedy

(Kennedy-Celtics conflict not lost on C’s supporter Simmons)

After Kennedy’s fine was announced, Rivers said, “In some ways I know I was right, because of the [Kennedy] fine. I wish it didn’t happen.

Does Donaghy lack credibility? Yes.

Did Donaghy cross the line of decency with his comment about Kennedy? Yes.

In the history of pro sports, is there a reasonable chance that this sort of conflict has played out before between player and/or coach and official?

In my opinion, yes.

As Donaghy is a former NBA official and his claim, however spurious it may seem, could’ve had a material impact on past and possibly future NBA games, his comment is newsworthy.