Dalton Maldonado is a high school basketball player who recently told his parents he was gay, but nothing could prepare him for the opposing team. One of them called him out and he decided to stand his ground, only to be harassed for his bravery.
It might have been any other basketball game for the Betsy Layne high school athlete, but when a gay slur flew from the opposing team, everything changed. The words “Hey number three, I hear you’re a f****t” kick-started it.
After hearing the initial taunt, Maldonado stood up and fought back his terror.
“Yeah baby, can I have your number?”
Apparently, Maldonado’s sarcasm didn’t work as well as he’d hoped because as he cried in the locker room later on, he realized he would probably never hear the end of it. According to Raw Story, Dalton Maldonado’s coach told the rest of the team to rally around him, even though he’d only told a couple of them he was gay before the game.
After everybody had changed out of their uniforms, the Kentucky high school basketball team approached their bus, only to find the opposing team waiting for them. His team boarded their bus as the other team pounded on the windows and even attempted to board the bus to get back at Maldonado.
Kentucky high school basketball player Dalton Maldonado came out at a game after hearing a gay slur. http://t.co/MPH68RwTUV
— LowerHaightbk (@LowerHaightbk) April 2, 2015
The harassment didn’t end there, either. The opposing team got in their cars and started chasing the bus, some even making gun gestures with their fingers.
A fellow teammate who’d previously known Maldonado was gay, McKenzie Akers mentioned how bad it was.
“They kept yelling that word. They wanted to get to Dalton. It was intense.”
Even the hotel they were staying at wasn’t immune to the harassment, though police had been assigned to keep the opposing team away over the Christmas tournament. This was when the opposing team’s coach finally stepped in and told them to stop harassing Maldonado and his team, according to Outsports.
Dalton Maldonado had officially become a target of anti-gay hate to a point that local authorities had to get involved. He has become stronger for it since that event, and his teammates have accepted the fact.
The overwhelming support from Betsy Layne high schoolers hasn’t been lost on the gay basketball player. Maldonado has even revealed the level of support he’s received since then.
“To this day I haven’t lost a friend over coming out. I’ve actually become closer to them. In fact, the one person in my school and on my team I was scared to tell sung the song ‘Same Love’ to me, as he told me he would always be here for me and was proud of me.”
Now Maldonado wants to spread the support to other teams and the world after what his team did for him.
[Image via Saswope, Wikimedia Commons]