The @SHAQ Puerto Rico Controversy: English Summary from Emilio Pérez of @tabpr with @LaNueveCuatro

Feb 28, 2012
1:21 PM

The following is ROUGH ENGLISH TRANSCRIPT and OVERALL SUMMARY of the interview between Rocky the Kid (@rockythekid), Billy Forquet and Emilio Pérez of @tabpr yesterday morning on El Despelote on La Nueva 94 in Puerto Rico. Pérez was the reporter who had an alleged incident with TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal, Pérez claims that Shaq said disparaging comments about Puerto Rico and later personally attacked him on Twitter.

El Despelote is a comedy morning-drive talk show with a very distinct Puerto Rican vibe, and for part of the segment has the two DJs made fun of Shaq, but Pérez didn't play the humor game but said that he is not going to turn this into a media circus, he has no personal beef with O'Neal, and that a press release about the incident will be shared by TABPR and sent to TNT and other outlets. 

Here is the summary (it is not a literal translation, but it captures Pérez's comments):

The segment begins with Es Despelote presenting a summary saying that Emilio asked for a photo of Shaquille O’Neal, but when O’Neal said no, Emilio told his photographer in Spanish that it wasn’t going to happen and O’Neal thought that Emilio was talking about them in Spanish. O’Neal then presented his video apology

Emilio: That Shaq video happened last night after the All-Star and O’Neal is already contradicting himself, saying I was asking for an autograph but an hour before on Twitter O’Neal tweeted that I had asked him for a photograph. He had changed his story already. Everyone who covers the NBA knows that no reporter is allowed to ask any player any autograph, according to NBA media policies very clearly too. You can ask for a photo but in a press conference setting but you can ask for a photo. [Voice of Shaq saying Dame Besos]

But here is the issue and this is what Shaquille O’Neal will try to spin: Shaquille O’Neal is no longer an NBA player, he is an analyst, he is part of the press, he is a press collaborator, a communicator, just like I am a member of the press. And this was a request among colleagues, this wasn’t a groupie request, and I have experienced this before, having made similar requests. This attack about me being an idiot just shows the class of gentleman that he is, he is denying all this. But he is not denying that he was with me, or that he was talking with me and he won’t apologize about his comments about Puerto Rico. He just says to ask Carlos Arroyo to prove how much he loves Puerto Rico, etc. etc. And of course, there weren’t video recorders when we met at Amway Center or a recording of what we discussed, etc. etc. Maybe except for the security cameras, he was safe in this encounter.

It was in the backstage area of Amway Center. He was with his two bodyguards and a group, and I was with a group of about nine Puerto Rican reporters who were covering the event and they were all witnesses to the incident.  One of the reasons why I approached him, calmly, was that we were taking photos of the event and of other people and then I thought that a photo of O’Neal for Puerto Rico would have been excellent. I told that to the photographer and I asked the bodyguard for permission and then the bodyguard said, sure, ask him, so he let me ask him.  Hey, I understand that he could just have said, "Sir, not right now, maybe some other time," but he didn’t say that and the attack was personal and the comments he made against Puerto Rico had to be shared, they just had to, no matter the consequences, they had to be shared.

I understand that he has a “beef” against me after what he tweeted and recorded, and I am not going to go there. If I were him, I would have done the same thing, I guess. But the issue were his comments against Puerto Rico.

Well, you have to remember that the whole Jeremy Lin headline thing in ESPN and the context of all this. Yesterday, a lot of the press thought it he might have a problem now with TNT. TNT does have TNT en español and they covered the story and presented both sides of the story and this affects not only the Puerto Rican community but also the entire Latino community and knowing Shaq’s history, it was surprising to see what he recorded. He could have handled it differently.

We are going to write a press release to TNT about all this and provide a record of what happened. But this will not be a media tour (no Comay, other Puerto Rican outlets). It happened and we won't attack him back. And we will not make a big spectacle of this, but we will share the release. We know we are young and we haven’t been doing this for a long time, but we are honest about this. It is the responsible thing to do.

Shaquille O’Neal did not touch me at all. Nothing like that happened.

Rocky The Kid then proceeded to post a joke tweet with a picture of Shaq and a panda bear (representing Emilio). Here is what he posted, as a joke. Pérez chuckled a bit, but didn't comment that much about the joke tweet. The tweet says something to this effect: "Hey, Emilio, a photo was taken of you with Shaq. Hahahahaha."