All things being equal, why aren’t they?
There are obvious inequalities in life.
But when it comes to “We Are One” – the new Los Angeles Clippers-inspired NBA mantra – isn’t the premise based on treating others as equals?
Whether you’re an icon like Shaq, or a scoundrel like Sterling, “We Are One” should apply.
So, shouldn’t at least some scrutiny fall on O’Neal for his Instagram making fun of a disabled fan?
First things first. Because for anyone remotely bringing anything into question that doesn’t 100 percent back NBA commissioner Adam “Sterling” Silver – who apparently discovered the cure for cancer, brought peace to the Middle East and learned the meaning of life, all with one appease-the-masses move – it’s a prerequisite to state the following:
I am not racist. I, too, believe what Donald Sterling said is disgusting and intolerable.
It turns my stomach. And it certainly should have turned the nation’s as well.
But there is also a huge difference between racism and realism.
And now it’s time to ask Silver to pause and answer a few questions about another NBA owner.
Yep. O’Neal, like Sterling, is an NBA owner.
Granted, Shaq-Fu is a minority owner with the Sacramento Kings, while Sterling is the Big Kahuna in Clipperville.
But O’Neal is an NBA owner, all the same.
So why don’t the same rules apply?
Silver banned Sterling for life for racist remarks made – in private – to gold-digging mistress V. Stiviano. The audio became public after she taped her beau – a guy nearly 50 years older than her.
The social media and grievance industries went bonkers, and the mainstream media followed like sheep.
The NBA, meanwhile, had just cranked up its money-making playoff machine and wasn’t about to let public opinion short-circuit it.
Two days later, Silver reacted. Sterling was done.
But that leads us back to the equality issue, and Silver – as Ricky Ricardo would say – should have some ‘splainin’ to do about Shaq’s Fu-lish recent behavior.
If any media folk ever bother to ask him.
If you are unaware of that behavior, you’re not alone.
A local Detroit Fox TV station and the New York Post are about the only major outlets I noticed that took O’Neal to task for his disgusting and mean-spirited Instagram, in which he mocked a 23-year-old man with a rare genetic condition.
Jahmel Binion – a huge O’Neal fan – has ectodermal dysplasia.
The disorder prevents him from perspiring, he has little hair and his teeth are deformed.
Binion, a target of bullying his entire life, posted a selfie on his Facebook page in December.
O’Neal’s incredibly disgusting act followed in late April.
Shaq posted his own photo – with his face contorted and his upper front teeth chomping down on his lower lip – next to a photo of Binion.
The caption: “SMILE TODAY.”
It got 14,000 hits.
It hit Binion like a 14,000 Shaq Diesels.
Unlike Sterling’s racist rant, Shaq’s pathetic prank was public.
Yet no NBA players tossed their warm-ups at mid-court in disgust.
In fact, at least one – Utah’s Trey Burke – joined the abuse.
As did Atlanta rapper Waka Flocka Flame.
Both also barbecued Binion on social media.
Binion, who also has speech problems, told that Detroit TV station “I’ve been getting teased since I was yay tall. People laugh at me, stare at me. I was kind of hurt because I’ve always looked up to (O’Neal) … so I was like, ‘why are you making fun of me?’ He is supposed to be this role model.”
Public outcry time, right?
Nope. Even though Binion’s tale was enough to draw tears.
On April 28, the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias wrote an open letter to O’Neal saying “bullying is never acceptable.”
O’Neal deleted his Instagram of Binion’s photo and replaced it with one of himself next to a picture of the animated character, Shrek.
On April 29, O’Neal announced, via Twitter, that he called Binion to apologize. Only then did the Associated Press finally pick up on the story, writing a very short account based on the apology.
On Friday, O’Neal took to Instagram and posted “The moment I found out that Jahmel had a birth defect I immediately took the photo down.”
ESPN? CNN? MSNBC? Oprah? The Today Show?
You tell me. I guessed I missed the roundtable discussions on those networks.
Apparently making fun of genetic disorders doesn’t offend the media’s PC police. Even if the offender is an NBA owner.
As for the NBA taking action, maybe O’Neal will get suspended. Or fined.
Or at least have his over-sized wrist slapped.
Don’t count on it.
When it comes to Silver, he obviously has his own set of golden rules.