A 21-year-old man was thrown out of a Kissimmee, Florida City Parks and Recreation League basketball game this past Sunday - simply because he is HIV-positive. At the time, Dakota Basinger had been diagnosed with the disease for one week.
Basinger explained to the Orlando Sentinel what happened after a referee stopped the game in the second half:
"He called a timeout, which was rare," Basinger said. "He made both teams go to their benches."
Basinger said a city employee called him into a room and asked Basinger if he was HIV positive. Basinger, who was diagnosed a week ago and had posted the information on his Facebook page, said he was. Then, Basinger said, the employee told him that he would need to stop playing – for good.
"I feel humiliated and discriminated against," said Basinger, a rap artist who performs locally. "I felt horrible walking out of that gym." On Tuesday, a city spokeswoman said in a statement that a part-time city employee "acted independently and without supervisor approval" when he removed Basinger from the game.
"The city has taken corrective action to ensure this does not happen in the future," said Arin Thrower, spokeswoman for the city, adding that "as of right now," the employee still works for the city. Basinger will be allowed to play in the league again when it starts back up, Thrower said.
Basinger's mother, Lisa, was at the game and went with her son when the employee called him into a room to say he couldn't play. "I couldn't believe it," said the outraged mother. "I explained to them that they needed to educate themselves on HIV and that you cannot transmit HIV through spit or casual contact."
The city employee has been identified as Dale Boston, who had been working for the city of Kissimmee for eight months. According to WKMG, Boston resigned from his job yesterday.
On the same day of his resignation, a city representative called Basinger to apologize. A Kissimmee spokesperson then issued a statement about the incident:
On Sunday, April 13, 2014, a part-time Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities employee with the City of Kissimmee acted independently and without supervisor approval, when he removed a participant from a city recreational basketball game due to a medical condition. The city has taken corrective action to ensure this does not happen in the future.
Also, AFTER THE JUMP (autoplay), watch Basinger talk about his emotional experience the night he was kicked off of the basketball game in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel.
Basinger is an aspiring rap singer. He revealed his HIV status in a new song he posted on his YouTube channel earlier this month. Listen, HERE.