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. Report: Wizards trading for Bucks’ Jared Dudley

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:07 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca

    The Wizards will only give up a future second-rounder.

  2. Report: Miami Heat’s Pat Riley will get dinner to try and woo LaMarcus Aldridge

    Jul 2, 2015, 4:37 PM EDT

    Portland Trail Blazers AP

    It would take an unlikely sign-and-trade to make it happen.

  3. Report: Tristan Thompson and Cavaliers reportedly apart in contract talks

    Jul 2, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    2015 NBA Finals - Game Five Getty Images

    Thompson and Cleveland were reportedly nearing $80 million-plus deal yesterday

  4. Tim Duncan says he’s not retiring

    Jul 2, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Getty Images

    Now, can the Spurs get LaMarcus Aldridge to complement him?

  5. Report: Pistons signing Aron Baynes away from Spurs for up to $20 million over three years

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes AP

    Baynes will reportedly get three-year deal with player option

  6. Report: Pacers agree to four-year, $44 million contract with Monta Ellis

    Jul 2, 2015, 1:23 PM EDT

    Donald Sloan, Monta Ellis AP

    Indiana shouldn’t feel good about this, even if it was their best option at this point

  7. Report: David West interested in Warriors and Spurs

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:00 AM EDT

    Draymond Green, David West AP

    Former Pacers forward said he opted out to win a title

  8. Kings set sights on at least one of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Wes Matthews

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:22 AM EDT

    Rajon Rondo AP

    The Kings are going to have to overpay to get players to come to the Kings right now.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5263)
  2. D. Wade (4786)
  3. L. James (3778)
  4. J. Embiid (3718)
  5. G. Monroe (3250)
  1. K. Bryant (3233)
  2. T. Harris (3160)
  3. K. Love (3126)
  4. J. Butler (2905)
  5. D. Jordan (2552)