Two local school districts issued a three-page statement this week denying an online sports publication's allegation that Bryan Station basketball players outed an opponent as being gay.
In an April 1 article posted on outsports.com, an online sports publication powered by SB Nation, Betsy Layne High School senior Dalton Maldonado said he was chased and outed at a basketball tournament Dec. 28, 2014, at Lexington Catholic High School. The article went viral.
According to the article, a confrontation between Maldonado and players from Bryan Station started with trash talk on the court, with the players asking Maldonado if he was gay and with Maldonado responding, "Yeah baby, can I have your number?" The article claimed that Maldonado later came out to his team in the locker room and that Maldonado and his teammates were followed by Bryan Station players, leading to a lockdown of the floor of the hotel where the Betsy Layne team was staying.
However, after a two-month investigation, the Fayette County and Floyd County school districts said that outsports.com's allegations are false, and that the game between the teams "was very physical, and there was unsportsmanlike conduct by players on both sides that included a variety of derogatory comments."
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The districts' statement added that "none of the Bryan Station High School basketball players or coaches knew that there was a gay player on the Betsy Layne team. While there was unsportsmanlike conduct by both teams and their fans on and off the court, no single player was targeted. Descriptions of pounding on bus windows, car chases through the streets of Lexington, hotel lockdowns and police escorts went beyond hyperbole to reach the bounds of outright fabrication."
The Fayette County school district said it gathered information pertaining to the investigation from the Lexington police department, The Campbell House, Lexington Catholic High School, student-athletes, coaches, parents and Floyd County Public Schools officials.
Nevertheless, in an article Thursday, outsports.com contended that its sources corroborated Maldonado's story, including a 911 call from Lexington police. The website posted the following statement:
"Outsports stands by its original story that Bryan Station boys basketball players called Maldonado a 'faggot,' and that Bryan Station community members attacked the Betsy Lane bus verbally and physically and pursued the bus in a vehicle, continuing an attempt to intimidate the Betsy Lane team.
"Several named eyewitnesses have given testimony to that effect, and no named witness has refuted any of those facts. A 911 dispatcher labeled the incident a 'terroristic threat,' and the Betsy Lane coaching staff was so disturbed by the incident that they strongly considered pulling the team from the rest of the tournament."
Fayette County officials are asking for the original story to be retracted.