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Saturday 20 September 2014

Shaquille O'Neal probed in Georgia for alleged "tackle punch"

David Beasley

Published 25/03/2014 | 18:46

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 15:  Shaquille O'Neal attends the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night during the NBA All-Star Weekend 2014 at The Smoothie King Center on February 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
Shaquille O'Neal

Atlanta police said they are investigating a claim that former professional basketball star Shaquille O'Neal injured a fellow employee at Turner Broadcasting System Inc with a "tackle punch" last May.

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The colleague, Robert Williams, said the 7-foot, 1-inch (2.16 meter), 325-pound (147 kg) O'Neal, a sports commentator at the Time Warner Co unit, "ran out of a room and hit me with a tackle punch to the back, knocking me down and falling on me," according to a police report. Williams said his neck and back were hurt in the incident.

No charges have been filed against O'Neal, who retired from the National Basketball Association in 2011 after 19 seasons and 15 All-Star appearances and is an NBA analyst for the TNT network.

Williams filed the simple battery report on July 2 but said the incident took place in May.

Atlanta Police spokeswoman Kim Jones declined to explain why the probe is taking so long complete.

Turner spokesman Sal Petruzzi and O'Neal's attorney both declined to comment.

But Atlanta television station WSB earlier quoted the attorney, Dennis Roach, as saying, "This was nothing more than horseplay. No one intended for anyone to get injured."

In the police complaint, Williams said he reported the incident to Turner security "at the time of my injury, and was placed under medical care and released from duties within 24 hours of the attack."

O'Neal, 42, played for the Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and several other teams during his professional sports career. He has been described by the NBA as "one of the most dominant players ever" but also is known for a goofy, outsized personality.

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