Sacramento Kings minority owner Shaquille O'Neal recently posted an Instagram photo mocking the selfie of a Michigan man with a rare disorder. Jahmel Binion has ectodermal dysplasia, which affects his face, teeth and hair. Shaq immediately came under fire for his insensitive post, which has since been deleted. On Wednesday Shaq tweeted that he had called Binion and apologized.
Made a new friend today when I called and apologized to Jahmel Binion. Great dude.#alwayslearning #MYBADCUZ— SHAQ (@SHAQ) April 30, 2014
There are several lessons to be taken from this incident. Primarily, that Instagram will clearly be the downfall of all NBA owners. On a serious note, it's a reminder that we can probably all treat each other better. And that celebrities need to not be idiots.
Since Instagram was so instrumental an element in the NBA's banning of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, it's easy to point to the Slippery Slope argument, and speculate if the NBA should be required to respond with equal force to Shaq's picture. While it demonstrated a complete lack of sensitivity, Shaq's gaffe seems like a stupid, poor attempt at a joke. Sterling, meanwhile, has a long and well documented history of racial discrimination. The two are not on par with one another.
As such, it doesn't seem that there will be any further fallout for Shaq. He was in his usual role as a member of TNT's studio show during Wednesday's games.