Wednesday, September 14, 2005

He's Got Our Back!

Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal sprang into action last weekend when he saw a man allegedly assault a gay couple.

Around 3 a.m. on Sunday, the 7-foot-1 basketball player was driving in South Beach when he saw a passenger in a car yell anti-gay slurs at the couple before throwing a bottle and hitting one of them.

O'Neal sped after the car, flagging down an officer who later arrested Michael Gonzalez, 18, on charges of aggravated assault and assault with a deadly weapon. The driver of the car was not charged.

The man who was hit with the bottle was not hurt seriously.

O'Neal, who hopes to be a police chief or county sheriff, released a statement about the incident. "For this incident I don't want to be credited as an individual who does police work. I want to be credited as a Miami Beach police officer."

Miami police spokesman Robert Hernandez said O'Neal has completed the training to be a reserve officer, but has not taken the state certification exam yet.

"He should be certified any day now," Hernandez told the Miami Herald. "He's already been fitted for a uniform."

"I think he's a great guy and he was just doing the right thing," said Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of the LGBT Web site OutSports.

Zeigler says although several athletes have made headlines for making anti-gay slurs, O'Neal has kept a low-profile on LGBT issues. "His attitude about life has always been live and let live and do what you want. He's a fun-loving guy who's trying to do the right thing."

"He exhibited the best qualities of law enforcement: he showed a blind eye," Zeigler pointed out. "It didn't matter who was being wronged."

"We live in a culture where we are still surprised when a heterosexual sports icon steps up for us," said Shawna Virago, the domestic violence program director of Community United Against Violence. "We can now say, 'Shaq has our back.'"
Christopher Curtis, PlanetOut NetworkWednesday, September 14, 2005


Blogzie said...

Well, honey, I wish he was on my back.

A girl can dream. can't she?

sttropezbutler said...

And didn't he look fabulous in those 24 hour Fitness ads!

Move over Blogzie!


CrackerLilo said...

Good for Shaq! :-) I love to read about this kind of stuff.

ConnieJane said...

Does this mean our Orlando Magic Shaq basketball cards will now FINALLY increase in value? just kidding...

Good for Shaq. Wonder if he'd like to pay Pat Robertson a visit and put him in his place.

(sorry DD, that was my deleted comment.)

BostonPobble said...

Whoo-Hoo for Shaq. And damn that we should all be this excited about it.