Dakota Basinger of Kissimmee, Florida was recently diagnosed as HIV-positive. The 21-year-old rapper and musician was in the middle of a city-sponsored recreation league basketball game this past weekend when a referee called time out and made both teams go to their benches. A city employee walked up to Mr. Basinger and asked to speak with him in another room. As WKMG Local 6 News reports, what happened next has people outraged and the city of Kissimmee apologizing.
Mr. Basinger told WKMG that once inside the other room, the city employee asked, “Are you HIV-positive?” Basinger says, “I was like, 'Yeah, why?' And he was like, 'Well, you're no longer allowed to play in the game, in the league.' They said they don’t want other people getting it."
Basinger told the Orlando Sentinel , “I feel humiliated and discriminated against. I felt horrible walking out of that gym.” His mother, Lisa Basinger, is furious. She told the Sentinel, “I couldn’t believe it. I explained to them that they needed to educate themselves on HIV and that you cannot transmit HIV through spit or casual contact.” One of Basinger’s teammates, 20-year-old Gustavo Delemaza, said that Basinger’s diagnosis, “didn’t really bother me at all. You can’t catch HIV by playing ball. It’s not contagious that way.”
City of Kissimmee Manager of Communications and Public Information Arin Thrower provided a statement to WKMG, which read:
"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.”
Thrower said the employee still has his job, but that may not be the case after a review. Part of the city’s corrective action was to call Mr. Basinger and apologize and invite him back to, “any and all city sports leagues and classes.” As for Dakota Basinger, he has contacted an attorney and is considering suing the city, with promises that money won in a lawsuit would be donated to HIV awareness organizations.