A Florida man was reportedly thrown out of a basketball game after it was revealed to the organizers that he was HIV positive. 21-year-old Dakota Basinger faced this unwarranted humiliation during a Kissimmee Parks and Recreation basketball game earlier this week, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
The incident happened on April 13 about four minutes into the second half of the team’s playoff game. It started with the referee blowing the whistle and calling a time out, and then asking both the teams to go to their benches. Basinger was then called in to a room by a city employee, later identified as Dale Boston. Boston, who has since the incident resigned from his position as a part-time recreation leader, asked Basinger if he was HIV positive. Basinger was then told by Dale that he would not be allowed to play the game any further and asked him to leave. He also advised Basinger to stop playing – for good.
Basinger, who also is well known local rap artist, said he felt “humiliated and discriminated against,” and walked out of the gym. Basinger’s mother Lisa was near him when this shocking turn of events unfolded behind closed doors. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. She also tried to explain to the official that being HIV positive doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world, and also tried to explain to him that it is not possible to contract the virus by casual contact.
Basinger, who was only recently confirmed to be HIV positive, had posted about it on his Facebook a few days ago. He had been playing for the Florida Dream Sports, a basketball league sponsored by the city of Kissimmee for over eight weeks.
Meanwhile, seeing the kind of outrage the behavior of Dale Boston with an HIV positive person has generated among locals, a city spokesperson Arin Thrower tried to distance themselves from the controversy. Thrower claimed that the person behind the fiasco was a part-time city employee who “acted independently and without supervisor approval.” He also added that the city has taken corrective action to ensure incidents of these kinds are not repeated. The HIV positive Basinger will be allowed to play in the league again when it starts back up, he confirmed. In the meantime, a Click Orlando report says that the Basingers are now considering suing the city and that they have already contacted an attorney.
This incident of blatant disrespect towards HIV positive individuals has raised questions about the awareness level people have in the United States regarding HIV. The fact that an educated, full-grown man knows so little about HIV and about being HIV positive was surprising to many.
Have you seen HIV positive individuals being discriminated against? How did you react to it?
[Image via The Orlando Sentinel]