Americas Toughest Sheriff has stripped Shaquille ONeal of his status as a Maricopa County special deputy and colonel, in response to his widely circulated freestyle video.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio took exception to Shaqs use of the n-word and other obscenities during the impromptu performance, which was taped by an audience member and posted on TMZ.com.
I want his two badges back, Arpaio said to The Associate Press on Tuesday (Jun 24). Because if any one of my deputies did something like this, theyre fired. I dont condone this type of racial conduct.
Sheriff Arpaio went on to say that while he didnt expect his word to teach Shaq a lesson, he hoped the Phoenix Suns center would learn that as a role model who wants to be a full-time sheriff one day, he needs to know his words matter.
Maybe Im old fashioned, continued Arpaio, who made headlines in the Hip-Hop world earlier this year for his tough prosecution of rapper DMX, but I dont think that either conduct should be out there publicly, even if media wasnt there.
The controversial viral video, in which Shaq takes shots at former teammate Kobe Bryant, first appeared online over the weekend.
ONeal promptly clarified his actions in an interview with ESPN.com on Monday (Jun 23), explaining that his freestyle was all done in fun, and that he had no issues with Bryant, with whom he had a tumultuous relationship throughout his time on the LA Lakers roster.