Atlanta police are investigating NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal for allegedly assaulting a TNT co-worker in May 2013, according to reports.
While O’Neal’s lawyers have played down the incident - describing it as “nothing more than horseplay” - the alleged victim, Robert Williams, is currently recovering from surgery according to his attorney.
"We understand that the physical attack by Shaquille O'Neal upon Mr. Robert Williams is under criminal investigation," his attorney said in a statement to WSB TV. "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.'"
It’s alleged that O’Neal - the 7ft 1in retired center who played for the likes of the LA Lakers, the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics during his illustrious career - ran out of a room at TNT studios before hitting Williams with a tackle punch to the back, before falling on top of his co-worker and injuring his neck and back.
"The investigation was initially handled by the zone and as that investigation deepened, it was transferred (to) the complex case squad," Atlanta police Sgt. Greg Lyon said, according to WSB TV. "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 is a keen fan of MMA and has previously trained in various sports including boxing, jiujitsu and wrestling. However, as things stand, no charges have been filed against the basketball icon.