We had unconfirmed rumors from anonymous sources that last night TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal was going to offer a public apology about alleged disparaging remarks he made to reporter Emilio Pérez about Puerto Rico during All-Star Game Weekend in Orlando. He did not say anything, and now questions are spiraling about whether the Tiro Al Banco report is true and can be corroborated.
These are comments by O'Neal reported by both TAB and La Nueva 94 on February 26:
“No necesito nuevos fanáticos, Yo tengo ya suficiente dinero en el banco…y de hecho, qué rayos es Puerto Rico… si solo es un simple lugar que ocupa poco más de ¼ de pulgada en el mapa. No me interesan y no me afectan”. [ED: OUR ROUGH TRANSLATION OF SPANISH] “I don't need new fans. I have enough money in the bank… and in fact, where the hell is Puerto Rico… it is just a simple place that takes up just ¼ of an inch on a map. They do not interest me and they don't affect me.”
One thing to explore is the following tweet by @Brhitney, which was posted on February 26, the night when the alleged incident occurred. According to her timeline, Brhitney Decamps was at the Amway Center in Orlando and besides tweeting about the event, she also tweeted the following:
When we asked her profile for a follow-up this morning, she tweeted us back immediately. She is now the second person, besides Pérez, to confirm that Shaq said something disparaging about Puerto Rico.
We spoke with Brhitney over the phone and she told us the following:
"I was just walking towards where I saw the group of people and I heard them talking, I couldn't hear very well until I got there. But then I just heard Shaq saying, 'Have you even seen Puerto Rico, it's about a quarter inch, look it up on Google Earth. And he was saying that as Emilio was leaving, so that's the only thing I heard."
There are now two confirmations of the incident and that indeed Shaq said something. We will be following up with more information soon.