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Shaquille O’Neal Talks Respect For Police

Shaquille O’Neal is one of the mainstream’s most beloved former-NBA players…with all his happy, dancing antics. And his statements in a new Esquire interview are only going to help middle America love him more.

In the piece, Shaq spoke about his admiration for police and keeping up respect for law enforcement — despite the things that are going on between police and Black people:

You seem to have a lot of respect and admiration for police. I remember that video of you going to play basketball with that cop in Florida. Do you think you have a role to play, sort of bridging that divide between police and communities?

Yeah. And one way to bridge the divide is for the media not to portray it as “all.”All police ain’t bad, just like all athletes ain’t bad. Just like all guys in your line of business ain’t bad. We all have the letter of the law to follow. And if you don’t follow that, it shouldn’t always be a reflection of who you work for or who you’re with. Are there some bad policemen? Of course. Guaranteed there are. And hopefully they’re tried and brought to justice.

And then you also have to have understanding. As an African-American male, I understand. I’ve been through it. As a police officer, I understand. I’ve been through it. I understand people. I listen. We’re not put on this Earth to change people’s minds—we just have to listen to them.

When I get stopped by the cops, I’m not worried. And it has nothing to do with being Shaq. You know why? I show respect. “Yes, sir. No, sir.” That’s how I was taught. I was raised by a drill sergeant, and that’s who I am. Doesn’t matter if it’s a black guy, white guy, whatever. I’m not going to make it uncomfortable for you, because I don’t want it uncomfortable for me. There’s not going to be any talking back—none of that.

Well before we judge all that harshly…Shaq says it’s because his father taught him that’s the only way.

Oh yeah. One time the police were messing with us, and I disrespected them. Oh, that was the worst thing I could have ever done. My father grabbed me by my collar, tugged me back, and said, “Don’t you ever disrespect these men. They’re here to protect us. You listen to them. You say, ‘Yes, sir. No, sir.’ And if he’s not right, if he’s doing stuff out of spite, just obey the letter of the law. Then you come and see me, and I’ll handle it.” So from that day on, I didn’t disrespect the police anymore.

We guess we see what he’s saying…sort of? But as we’ve seen time and time again, being respectful doesn’t guarantee you your life when dealing with certain cops.

It’s a pretty flippant statement to make, and a doubly delusional one coming from a highly recognizable celeb — claiming it has nothing to do with his celebrity.




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