Dalton Maldonado first told his story to Outsports in an article that has since prompted lots of questions from the media. The yearbook features every player in individual pictures bracketing a group picture — every player, that is, except Maldonado.
“It was really disappointing to see that my picture wasn’t in there,” said Maldonado, who played for Betsy Layne High School’s basketball team for three years.
According to Floyd County superintendent Henry Webb, a harassment coordinator investigated Maldonado’s claims. A statement released Wednesday says the coordinator thinks the photo was omitted by mistake. The release claims Maldonado’s photo was taken, but he asked for the digital file “for approval and editing.” The file was apparently given back to the photographer but didn’t contain the photo.
The district says there was no deliberate attempt to harass the student athlete by omitting his photograph from the yearbook, that claim is totally false and without merit… The student appears in the yearbook in fifteen separate photos,” the release says.
Maldonado insists he was harassed by an opposing team during a tournament in Lexington, but an investigation by school leaders and Fayette County Public Schools disputed his claims.
Maldonado says he complained about the missing photo but “they ignored me. They just brushed it off like, oh. They didn’t apologize. That’s what’s hurting the most.”
“My big thing is gay athletes who are not out right now. I just want them to know they are supported,” Maldonado insists. “Here is someone out there that is going to have their back and for them not to be scared to come out. But my story might seem negative. Obviously, negative stuff has happened to me like the yearbook incident (and) all of this stuff. In the end so much great stuff has came out of it.”