NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is the subject of an assault investigation after he allegedly “tackle-punched” a crew member on the set of TNT’s “Inside The NBA.”
According to a police report filed in Atlanta, a 44-year-old man named Robert Williams claimed that O’Neal, 42, injured him at Turner Studios last May, TMZ reports. Williams alleges that O’Neal attacked him while he was “at work.”
“While at work at Turner Studios on May 9th 2013, about 12:30 a.m., as I was performing my duties at work, Shaquille O’Neal ran out of a room and hit me with a tackle punch to the back knocking me down and falling on top of me injuring my neck and back,” Williams stated.
Williams claims that he alerted Turner Security about O’Neal’s assault and received medical treatment, USA Today reports. But he did not contact Atlanta police until July 2, nearly two months later, TMZ notes.
“I don’t know the extent of his injury, but I have heard that as well, that his injuries were severe to his back,” Atlanta Police Sgt. Greg Lyon told WSBTV.
On Monday, O’Neal’s attorney, Dennis Roach, released a statement saying, “This was nothing more than horseplay. No one intended for anyone to get injured.”
While Atlanta police are investigating the case, O’Neal has yet to be charged with a crime. “The investigation was initially handled by the zone and as that investigation deepened, it was transferred (to) the complex case squad,” Lyon told WSBTV. “At the conclusion of their investigation, we’ll have their findings and we’ll go forth from there, whether charges will be filed, whether it be reviewed by the DA’s Office.”
O’Neal spent 19 seasons in the NBA, winning four league championships as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat. He retired in 2011 and became an NBA analyst for TNT.