HIV-positive man kicked out of city basketball rec league
Worker resigns; City of Kissimmee apologizes
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – A city of Kissimmee worker resigned Thursday, two days after Local 6 reported that he kicked an HIV-positive man out of a basketball game.
Dale Boston, a part-time recreation leader with the Parks, Recreation & Public Facilities department, resigned from his position, Kissimmee officials said.
Boston had been employed with the city for less than eight months, said officials, who added that he was not instructed by anyone from the city to approach and remove the participant, 21-year-old Dakota Basinger, from the basketball game on Sunday.
Basinger was playing in the last game of the season of the Kissimmee City Parks and Rec League at Denn John Middle School when he was informed that he could not participate.
"(A) guy approached me, works for the city, came up to me, he said, 'Are you HIV-positive?," said Basinger. "I said, 'Why?' He was like, 'You're not allowed to play in the game, in the league.'"
"I asked the guy, 'Are you educated on this?'" said Dakota's mom, Lisa Basinger. "He said, 'No, but I'm doing this because the city of Kissimmee wants me to take him out of the game.' I said, 'Who is the city?' He didn't have an answer."
City of Kissimmee Manager of Communications and Public Information Arin Thrower told Local 6 that the worker was specifically told not to approach Basinger.
"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," said Thrower. "The city has taken corrective action to ensure this does not happen in the future."
"They said that, you know, we don't want other people getting it," said Dakota Basinger. "Well, you obviously don't know much about HIV."
"It's ignorance, total ignorance," said Lisa Basinger. "How can you be this ignorant in 2014? I mean, we're not back in the '80s. You cannot catch this from casual contact, from playing basketball, or sweat, or spit, or anything like that."
Thrower said city supervisors called both Dakota and Lisa Basinger to apologize and invite him back to any and all city sports leagues and classes.
"They could apologize all they want but the humiliation I had to go through, I'm already going through enough being diagnosed a week ago," said Dakota Basinger.
The Basingers said they'd contacted an attorney in South Florida and are considering suing the city. They promised that any money won in a lawsuit would be donated to HIV awareness organizations.
Basinger, an aspiring musician, has turned to music to share his news and express his emotions. His latest song entitled "My Best Friend" that he posted on YouTube contained a surprise ending: "Results back, he has HIV, and my best friend was me."
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