‘That’s heartbreaking’: Shaquille O’Neal under fire for mocking fan with rare disorder on Instagram

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:

shaqImage 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.

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“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:

  • http://www.patriotwood.com Art Pinney

    Yes there is a double standard in our country. Sad but true. http://patriotwood.com

  • Anonymous

    disgraceful– Shaq. not a racial issue, but flat out disgusting. It sounds like your new friend showed tremendous grace in accepting the apology. His support group should grow now, and that is a good thing.

    • Bill Tilghman

      It would help if Shaq chose to offer that group some monetary support. He knows that, but the question is will he do it and be responsible?

    • Anonymous

      Not a RACIAL ISSUE? The MAN O’NEAL the RACIST is mocking is BLACK.

      • Anonymous

        Are you trying to be funny? is he mocking the man because of his race or his genetic disfigurement?

        • Anonymous

          O’Neal is mocking this poor guy, because O’Neal is an insensitive idiot. There is no difference from Sterling, except what Sterling did was in PRIVATE. What O’Neal did was in PUBLIC. Understand?

          • Are You Serious?

            He’s mocking his disfigurement/disorder, not his race. SMH

  • ISawTheLight

    Don’t sweat it ,think of it like this it is black on black crime and there is big money involved .
    Sweep it under the rug .

  • Deckard426

    It’s hard to tell them apart until you realize Shaq is the stupid looking one.

  • goldengekko

    Shaq – how sad that you came to your lower standard to make fun of a person with a disability. My question to you Shaq – Do you really know how to read? Were you given great grades simply because you were a sad looking giant? Your late apology to Jahmel really doesn’t count – You are a piece of art made out of elephant dung. Sad Shaq, very sad and BIG SHAME ON YOURSELF!

  • Bill Tilghman

    Shaq made a horrible mistake in mocking Jahmel Binion over his affliction, and he has made an apology for it, albeit a minimal one. There are some who will give him an excuse for behaving like a fool, but he needs to do much more than apologize. Shaq is not stupid, and he knows that he should step up and humble himself by accepting the responsibility for what he’s done. If he is concerned with doing the right thing he should do something personally for Jahmel Binion, the target of his callous post.

    I know his mother and father taught him better. It is time for Shaq to be a real man, and I don’t think that Shaq needs to have this spelled out for him.

    “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

  • landofaahs

    Since Shaq probably has an IQ that begins with a decimal point, we should probably cut him some Shlaq. Or we could just ban him from any NBA games for life.

  • Anonymous

    The original post has 14,000+ likes. That’s very disturbing. People aren’t people anymore.

  • Rev James Richardson

    Shaq: Not you too man? Why? This hit me in the chest like a heart attack. I’m a 78 year guy who loves the game and I’ve admired you for years. I know there is a solid character in you and this was just a off the wall stupid thing you did. Now go do something great for this guy. He could probably use a BIG break in life. Show him your heart is as big as your feet.

  • ColoradoCommish

    Shaq needs to be Banned from the NBA for Life, Fined, and prevented from EVER owning any part of any team in the future. Reprehensible is Reprehensible…. And His was PUBLIC.
    What say you Mr. President?

  • Anonymous

    This is what K-8 kids do to person(s) they bully.

  • SpediacciMan2

    Amazing. How old is O’Neil ? How much is worth ? I remember his reaction when he was Punkd on MTV some years back. He was very un-aware of the prank and his genuine reaction was disturbing. (Look it up on youtube) I don’t know about banning him from the NBA. I say ban him from all social networks and media. A real society would do this automatically. Bullshit with this “he made a mistake” crap. He is to old to use that excuse and should be far better than that with his past career and education. Most of all and equally disturbing are the 14,000 + likes. Personally I have just about given up on this sad excuse of animals that run this planet. Pathetic.

  • Sunny

    Shaq was all for banning Sterling fromt he NBA, how come he’s above getting the same? What he did was much worse.

  • Paul Crittenden

    One guy says one thing in private, to his archivist who ignores confidentiality, while the other intentionally and publicly humiliates another. Of course, Sterling isn’t backing down. Maybe that has something to do with it?

  • IT IT IT IT 9

    DEBASEMENT OP sports ‘culture’ chugs on!

  • Anonymous

    Shaq may very well be liable to Jahmel for a lawsuit unauthorized use of his image, or even defamation. Considering how sympathetic a person Jahmel is, and how wealthy Shaq is, also how widely Shaq’s instagram feed is followed, this could make Jahmel a very wealthy young man.

    I sincerely hope Jahmel has some long conversations with a killer civil litigator or 3. Hit Shaq in the wallet, let him prove his sincerity…

  • Huskergram

    Why are we all so quick to condemn? Shaq made a horrible mistake. He then called and talked to Jahmel. If Jahmel can forgive him, why can’t we? Just drop it and get on with life.

  • Anonymous

    Time to ban Shaquille O’Neal from the NBA for Life!

  • I hate blacks

    It sickens me that piece of garbage shaq gets away with this!

  • Syberlink

    Maybe Shaq just made a small mistake and can easily make it up by visiting this man and saying I’m sorry for what ever reason he did it. You can’t fix stupid, but you can say “I’m Sorry”