Shaquille O'Neal Subject of Open Assault Investigation in Atlanta

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistMarch 25, 2014

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 14:  Shaquille O'Neal attends the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2014 as part of the 2014 NBA Allstar Weekend at the Smoothie King Center on February 14, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Updates from Wednesday, March 26

According to a report from TMZ, alleged x-rays of Shaq's victim show how serious the damage was:

Rob's attorney, William J. McKenny tells us his client required 4 screws and a metal plate as a result of the alleged "punch-tackle" ... and says he's still in serious pain.

While Shaq insists the two were simply horsing around, Rob's attorney tells us his client was simply standing outside the break room, looking at his cell phone when Shaq came out of nowhere.

Original Text

Four-time NBA champion and current Inside the NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal is under investigation for an alleged assault that occurred last May. A co-worked claims he was injured when O'Neal tackled him from behind, while the longtime center insists it was just horseplay. reports local police have yet to file any charges against the 15-time All-Star. The incident came to their attention last July when Robert Williams filed a complaint in which he stated he suffered neck and back injuries as a result of O'Neal's actions:

According to Robert Williams, a co-worker of O'Neal's at Turner Studios, for whom O'Neal is an NBA analyst, the 15-time All-Star "ran out of a room and hit me with a tackle punch to the back knocking me down and falling on top of me injuring my neck and back," the police report says.

Williams said the alleged assault was noted to Turner Security services the next day, which would be May 10, before being reported to local police on July 2.

Ryan Young of WSB-TV in Atlanta provided comments about the ongoing investigation from police and representatives for both parties.

Sergeant Greg Lyon of the Atlanta Police Department said the investigation has become more complex over time, which explains the extended amount of time without a decision about how to proceed:

The investigation was initially handled by the zone and as that investigation deepened, it was transferred (to) the complex case squad. 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 be reviewed by the DA's Office.

Dennis Roach, who is O'Neal's attorney, said in a brief statement that there was never intent for anybody to get hurt, stating: "This was nothing more than horseplay. No one intended for anyone to get injured."

A representative for Williams denied those claims and said permanent injuries were suffered as a result of the incident:

We understand that the physical attack by Shaquille O'Neal upon Mr. Robert Williams is under criminal investigation. 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.'

No timetable was provided by police in relation to when a decision will be made about whether to file assault charges against O'Neal. Further details from the investigation about the case and the events leading up to the reported tackle were not made available.

Once the research into the claims is complete, a far clearer picture about how police plan to proceed should become available. O'Neal has continued to appear on TNT's Inside the NBA while the investigation has continued.

O'Neal, 42, played in the NBA for nearly two decades with six different teams before retiring after the 2010-11 season. He joined the Inside the NBA team a short time later.