Shaqtin’ a Fool: Ex-NBA Center Under Investigation for ‘Horseplay’ 

Atlanta police are investigating Shaquille O’Neal in an alleged horseplay incident that ended with O’Neal injuring a co-worker.

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Shaquille O'Neal 

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Former NBA Center Shaquille O'Neal is the subject of an assault investigation by Atlanta police after alleged "horseplay" incident in which a co-worker was injured last year, ESPN reports.

According to a police report, the incident is alleged to have occurred May 9 and was first reported to police July 2. Local authorities have not filed charges over the event, in which Robert Williams, a co-worker of O'Neal's at Turner Studios, claims that the NBA analyst "tackle punch[ed]" him. 

The police report filed by Williams and viewed by ESPN claims that the 15-time All-Star "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."

ESPN notes that Turner Security was made aware of the incident within a day.

"The investigation was initially handled by the zone and as that investigation deepened, it was transferred (to) the complex case squad," police Sgt. Greg Lyon said, according to WSB TV in Atlanta. "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 (will) be reviewed by the DA's Office."

O'Neal's attorney Dennis Roach said, in a statement sent to the news station, that the incident "was nothing more than horseplay. No one intended for anyone to get injured."

Williams' attorney sent his own statement to the station, denying the situation was the result of horseplay.

"We understand that the physical attack by Shaquille O'Neal upon Mr. Robert Williams is under criminal investigation," Williams' attorney's statement read. "Mr. Williams is presently recovering after surgery.

"However, he does state, emphatically, that the permanent injuries he received were not the result of participation in any form of 'horseplay.' "

O'Neal retired in 2011 after a 19-year career with several NBA teams, including the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers. Since his retirement, he has worked as an NBA broadcaster for Turner Network Television. 

Read more at ESPN and WSB TV in Atlanta.

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