It is best to think twice before mocking someone’s selfie. Shaquille O’Neal learned that the hard way when he mocked Jahmal Binion, who has ectodermal dysplasia. It is a rare genetic disorder that hinders the ability to grow teeth and hair.
My Fox Detroit reported that former University of Michigan athlete Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka Flame also mocked Binion’s selfie.
Granted the disease is not well known and no one knows if Shaq knew Binion has the disorder. Shaq is also known for making fun of himself, often comparing himself to Shrek, the fat green ogre from the Dreamswork movies.
Shaq deleted the Instagram photo, but he is followed by 500,000 on Instagram and 8.3 million on Twitter. Many angry fans blasted him on Twitter for bullying Binion. One grandmother to a disabled boy told Shaq he should be ashamed of himself.
Binion is holding his head up high.
“I’ve been getting teased since I was yea tall–people laugh at me, stare at me.
“I was kinda hurt because I look up to him and I watch Shaq play basketball so I was like, why is he making fun of me when he’s supposed to be this role model?
“I can’t let it get to me, then I get hurt and depressed, so I keep my mind positive.”
Binion started the Facebook page “Hug Don’t Judge” to bring awareness to his condition. Many parents with children with the disorder are sharing pictures. The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia also responded and invited Shaq to the NFED National Family Conference in Columbus, OH from July 23-26. Executive Director Mary Fete wrote Shaq a letter.
You might want to consider making something positive come from this. Consider giving Jahmel Binion the gift of a smile, one that others would not make fun of. Give him a smile that would give him confidence and pride.
We are urging our NFED community to use this opportunity to raise awareness, to make positive change, and to support Jahmel’s “Hug Don’t Judge” campaign (#hugdontjudge). We encourage you to do the same. Let’s raise awareness of the ectodermal dysplasias. Together, we have the power to make life better for the people it affects.
Beauty is diverse. Let us show you.
Shaq has not publically responded.
(Photo Courtesy of Daily Mail)