Basketball has created some pretty cool news stories over the last few years, but this isn’t one of them. A teenage basketball player has today spoken about how he was chased out of his high school after coming out and telling people he is gay. Dalton Maldonado, from Floyd County in Kentucky, had to deal with mountains of abuse after he admitted to feeling attracted to the opposite sex during a game at his school. The basketball world has gone mad over the incident, with thousands of tweets being posted in support of Mr. Maldonado.
Last year, Dennis Rodman flew over the North Korea with a small team of other players to meet with the supreme leader Kim Jong Un. It was hoped the trip would help to promote understanding and bring North Korea in line with the rest of the world. The move was a success, and it helped to build relationships. Sadly, it seems that basketball doesn’t have the same effect in our home country. When someone is penalized and run out of school for admitting they’re gay, something is terribly wrong.
Basketball has been one of the most popular team sports in US schools for generations. It used to be the case that anyone on the team would gain respect from their peers. However, the world is shocked to see that simply isn’t true any longer. Gay people are not judged by their ability to play the game and win matches. All too often, they are judged on their sexuality alone.
Dalton didn’t intend to come out on the court. He was simply responding to a gesture made by a player on the opposing team. The player had said “I hear you’re a f****t.” Mr. Maldonado was quick with his witty reply. He simply said “Yeah baby, can I have your number?”
The uproar about this incident on social media websites is somewhat encouraging though. While people at Dalton’s school might not be mature enough to handle the fact that he likes members of the same sex, those online have rallied round with their support. They’re even making custom basketball headbands in rainbow colors to show the world that gay people should not suffer prejudice in sport.
Most people would agree that performance is far more important than any element of a sports person’s personal life. Sexuality should not come into it at all, and we hope that major changes will take place in the future. The principal from Dalton’s high school was quick to say the matter would be dealt with. He said that those concerned must face the consequences of their actions. However, no information is available about the punishment they received.
Basketball and all other team sports are there to bring people together. No matter what your racial background, sexual preferences, or class, you should win respect on the court by playing well. Let’s all spare a thought for Dalton and his situation today. A simple tweet will let him know how much you are in support of him and other minorities.