Skip to content

Referee Violet Palmer comes out publicly as gay

Jul 31, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

Sacramento Kings v Houston Rockets Getty Images

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.

Dan Gelston of the Associated Press:

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.

Latest Posts
  1. John Wall got a $20,000 portrait of himself for his birthday (PHOTO)

    Sep 3, 2015, 11:15 PM EDT

    John Wall John Wall

    The street artist Madsteez painted the commissioned piece.

  2. Utah’s Dante Exum underwent knee surgery Thursday, likely out for season

    Sep 3, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    Dante Exum AP

    He tore the ACL last month playing for Australia.

  3. Ricky Rubio is confident Timberwolves not looking to trade him

    Sep 3, 2015, 5:09 PM EDT

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings Getty Images

    The trade speculation around him is not based in reality.

  4. Report: Kings signing Eric Moreland

    Sep 3, 2015, 4:14 PM EDT

    Moreland was reportedly considering Pistons and Lakers

  5. Report: J.R. Smith’s 2015-16 salary becomes fully guaranteed Monday

    Sep 3, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

    LeBron James, Shaun Livingston, Harrison Barnes AP

    Cavaliers craft unusual contract to give Smith a partial guarantee next season

  6. Doc Rivers says Paul Pierce chose Clippers over Celtics this summer

    Sep 3, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce reacts to a call by the officials in Boston Reuters

    He will be remembered as a Celtic, but Los Angeles is his hometown.

  7. It’s official: J.R. Smith re-signs with Cavaliers

    Sep 2, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    J.R. Smith J.R. Smith

    He’s making $1.5 million less than if he opted in this season, but he does have another year.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2144)
  2. K. Irving (1781)
  3. A. Davis (1614)
  4. L. James (1415)
  5. K. Bryant (1373)
  1. K. Durant (1306)
  2. A. Aminu (1246)
  3. M. Leonard (1205)
  4. T. Thompson (1203)
  5. A. Jefferson (1193)