Jul 31, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT
Violet Palmer became the NBA’s first female referee in 1997, opening the door for a ridiculous amount of unfair criticism (and some fair criticism too).
Her gender – despite the complaints of too many morons – does not affect her ability to call fouls, but she’s had to work through the critics who dismiss her credentials out of hand.
Now, the spotlight will shine even brighter on her.
Violet Palmer made her biggest call yet: The NBA referee will marry her partner of 20 years on Friday.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Palmer says she came out to her fellow NBA referees in 2007. She has not tried to keep her sexuality a secret from the league since that time.
“This is actually the big formal coming out,” Palmer said. “We are saying to the world, to everyone, here’s my wife of 20 years. This is the big coming out.”
Palmer will marry celebrity hair stylist Tanya Stine in Los Angeles.
People generally handled Jason Collins coming out exceptionally well, but he was already a respected player when he came out, and people tend to like players – more than referees at least.
The only likable referees are the ones you don’t know. If a ref has come into your purview, it’s because he or she did something that bothered you. So, I think Palmer faces a tougher battle when it comes to people handling her announcement appropriately.
But the NBA has been out in front on inclusion, and maybe it will carry over. I sure hope everyone treats Palmer with the respect she deserves, accepting her correct calls – and criticizing her wrong ones.
- Jim Buss open to the idea of Kobe Bryant playing beyond this season 28
- Derrick Rose on sexual assault suit: “I am confident I will be proven innocent” 2
- Report: Kyrie Irving likely not back opening night, could be out until January 14
- Legendary Sixer, backboard-shattering dunker Darryl Dawkins dies at 58 14
- After Rio Olympics next summer, who takes over at Team USA coach? 8
- Kobe, Shaq discuss regrets over feud that ended their Lakers era 49
- NBA fines Clippers for attempting to circumvent salary cap with DeAndre Jordan 10
- The most overlooked – and maybe most significant – reason Carmelo Anthony won’t waive his no-trade clause this season 18