Update: After the publication of this article, Bryan Station High School principal Mike Henderson released this statement to Outsports:
There was a heated competition on the basketball court when our two teams played back in December. Emotions ran high and there was some verbal confrontation between parents and a few students from each school, but nothing of the nature described by this online publication.
The head coaches of both teams addressed the issue right then and there and the tournament continued without incident.
When this story appeared and raised allegations of harassment and discrimination directed toward a single player, we were shocked and began an investigation. We are still gathering information at this time, but we have found several gross inaccuracies that cast doubt on the legitimacy of the story.
Bryan Station High School does not tolerate or condone harassment of any kind and we embrace the diversity of our students, parents and community. We will continue to fully investigate this matter in conjunction with Floyd County Schools and will release our findings when complete.
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A week after Outsports posted the story of gay Kentucky basketball player Dalton Maldonado, questions still swirl around the incident that forced the high school senior out of the closet.
As we reported earlier, Maldonado was called a gay slur by an opposing player after a December basketball game during a Christmas tournament hosted by Lexington Catholic. The offending Bryan Station High School team then allegedly pounded on the bus of Maldonado's Betsy Layne High School team and pursued the bus in their cars when it pulled away from the school, all the while yelling gay slurs at Maldonado.
What repercussions befell the Bryan Station High School team after the incident remain a mystery.
Outsports had previously withheld the name of the school due to officials being away for spring vacation. Yet some, including a reporter from NBC affiliate Lex 18, were able to unearth the school's identity.
Lex 18's Kyle Scott spoke with Bryan Station Athletic Director Ryan Harrington on Wednesday evening and Harrington said he had no knowledge of the incident reported in SB Nation's article and that he had not been contacted by the website.
We did contact school principal Mike Henderson via email and phone before the article ran, but we did not hear back from him. We have since left voice mail messages and two emails for Henderson, and we have also emailed Harrington twice. We have not received any reply from the school administration.
If Harrington is correct and he had not heard anything about the incident, that suggests some kind of breakdown in reporting by the team coaching staff. The boys basketball coach, Tommy Johnson Jr., is listed on the school's Web site as the school's S.A.F.E. teacher. It seems odd that a teacher with "SAFE" in his title would fail to properly report the harassment of a student based on his sexual orientation.
If Maldonado's story had not been corroborated by a Betsy Layne assistant coach and a teammate, there might be some question about the details - yet the stories of all sources and evidence have matched completely.
One of the members of the Bryan Station team also sent off this Twitter exchange last week:
We did ask Maldonado what he said to the Bryan Station team. He maintained that there were unpleasantries exchanged during the game, but he insisted that he did not use any slurs based on sexual orientation, race or anything else. He said after seeing the above tweet that he fears the team will use allegations of racial slurs to deflect attention from their harassment and intimidation of him. The game ended in a blowout 73-41 Bryan Station win. Maldonado sat all or most of the fourth quarter.
Maldonado's team also did not follow the Bryan Station team out of the school, yell slurs at them, pound on their bus then get in their cars and chase them. As we reported last week, that was the behavior of some of the Bryan Station team after the game.
In addition, Outsports received this photograph (below) of the incident outside the school taken by a parent. It allegedly shows the Bryan Station team (left) yelling at players and supporters of Betsy Layne while some parents of the Betsy Layne players try to defuse the situation. All faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.
While there's no way to know who's saying what in the photograph, it reflects every account of the incident and every piece of evidence Outsports has received.
A. Gibson, the member of the Bryan Station team, also shared this thought on Twitter:
To be clear, Maldonado shared a very brief story with Outsports out of which we wrote a feature story. Maldonado said his goal was never to implicate the Bryan Station team, but rather to show how positive and welcoming his own team has been. Maldonado has received nothing but love and admiration from his Betsy Layne High School teammates and coaches.
The Bryan Station team and administration might understand why the reaction was so strong to that story, given LGBT teens are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their non-LGBT counterparts.
Hopefully the Bryan Station High School administration will soon shed some light on their response to the anti-gay intimidation allegedly perpetrated by their boys basketball team.