While the media’s attention is focused squarely on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, there is another story featuring an NBA legend that is as sad as it is offensive. Former Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal posted a picture on Instagram — mockingly captioned “smile today” — showing his face alongside Michigan man Jahmel Binion:
Image Source: Instagram via WJBK
The only problem? Binion’s missing teeth and abnormal hair growth are a result of a rare disorder called ectodermal dysplasia.
“It was really awful,” Pat said on radio this morning. “This is a young man has some sort of genetic disease that, you know, messed up his face and his teeth don’t grow properly. So Shaq did a mocking face and put himself side by side and then sent it out on Instagram mocking the kid.”
As though O’Neal’s immature behavior wasn’t bad enough, in an interview with WJBK-TV, Binion explained that while he has grown somewhat accustomed to getting stared at and teased, he had always looked up to the NBA star.
“I was kind of hurt because I’ve always looked up to him,” Binion said. “I’ve watched Shaq play basketball since I was… so I was like, why are you making fun of me? He is supposed to be this role model.”
“That’s heartbreaking,” Pat said.
After reading about this incident yesterday on TheBlaze, Glenn took to his own Instagram account to show his support of Binion:
“So yesterday I put up on Instagram my response to it. And I put it up on Instagram and Facebook and then I tweeted it as well because I think it is so awful what Shaq did… It’s despicable,” Glenn said. “ So Shaq comes out [in response to Donald Sterling] all about how racism is horrible. What is racism? Judging somebody by their color. Hey, Shaq, how about not judging somebody by their teeth or the way they look and feeling like you have a right to make fun of them?”
Last night, Shaq tweeted that he had gotten in touch with Binion and apologized for the offensive picture:
— SHAQ (@SHAQ) April 30, 2014
“Shaq just apologized for making fun of the guy with the genetic disorder… He tweeted, ‘I made a new friend today when I called to apologize to Jahmel Binion. What a great guy,’” Glenn said. “Really?! Can [Sterling] apologize? It’s okay for Shaq to do it.”