Former NBA champion says it was pointless for league to announce its first nonbinary ref

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Former center and NBA champion Andrew Bogut voiced his opinion on NBA referee Che Flores becoming the first nonbinary referee in the league.

Flores, who uses they/them pronouns, came out earlier this season to share their courageous story.

Despite that, Bogut didn’t think it was necessary to be shared. He took to his podcast to express his thoughts.

“It doesn’t really affect my day,” Bogut said. “I just think it’s a pointless thing to announce. Someone’s sexuality related to whether they coach, play, ref is just absolutely stupid in my opinion.”

Bogut later said it was “no one’s business” to know what the referees’ sexual preferences are. He thinks that it has gone over the top from a public relations standpoint.

“That’s my opinion on it,” Bogut said. “I know people disagree with it. But I just thought it was a nothing burger, and it’s no one’s business.”

While Bogut doesn’t believe that the league and the world needed to know Flores’ story, it is important that the NBA referee was able to come out and potentially inspire others around the world to be true to themselves.

“When I started refereeing, you had to look a certain way,” Flores told GQ. “This is the first time I’m comfortable expressing myself through my own fashion and not having to worry about it. I feel one hundred percent myself now.”

Flores became an NBA official in 2022, but waited until this season to share how they identify. Flores explained how being misgendered had hurt during their career.

“One piece I was missing for myself was that no one knew how I identified,” Flores said. “Being misgendered as she/her always just felt like a little jab in the gut.”

Flores shared that they can finally “go through the world and even my job a lot more comfortably.”

By coming out, Flores became the first out nonbinary and trans referee in American major professional sports. Flores hopes that can make an impact on others out there going through the same struggle.

“I just think of having younger queer kids look at somebody who’s on a high-profile stage and not using it,” Flores said. “And I’m not using the league to an advantage in any way. This is just to let young kids know that we can exist, we can be successful in all different ways. For me, that is most important—to just be a face that somebody can be like, ‘Oh, okay, that person exists. I think I can do that.’”

Bogut is entitled to his opinion, but hopefully the former Golden State Warriors big man realizes that Flores’ courageous decision is about more than just sharing their story. It’s about potentially helping many other people out in the world share theirs as well.

A former No. 1 overall pick, Bogut last played in the NBA in the 2018-19 season. He won a title with the Warriors in the 2014-15 season and made one All-NBA team during his playing career.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.