Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Thursday (A story about Shaq that isn't funny at all) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Sports Updated: June 16, 2011 - 9:57 AM

Shaquille O'Neal was known for his post-game quips, his amusing rap lyrics and his generally gregarious nature. So this story that came out not long after his platitude-filled retirement must be amusing, right? Um ...

Members of a Los Angeles street gang are facing charges in the 2008 beating of a man who claimed he had a sex tape of Shaquille O'Neal and that the retired NBA star was behind the attack.

Hmmm. Still waiting for the punch line.

Sheriff's department records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times showed investigators probed allegations that O'Neal was connected to the attack, but O'Neal denied any involvement and has not been charged, the newspaper reported Wednesday. Also, O'Neal is not named in the criminal complaint.

Well, that's good. But still ...

Robert Ross reported being beaten in 2008 but details of the case only came to light publicly this week in a preliminary hearing in which Ross testified against seven members of the Main Street Crips facing kidnapping, robbery and assault charges. According to the sheriff's report, Ross told investigators he was kidnapped at gunpoint by Main Street Crips gang members in West Hollywood in February 2008 and taken to the home of the gang's alleged leader, Ladell Rowles. He said the gang members beat him, stole $15,000 in cash and some jewelry. Ross said Rowles demanded the purported videotape of O'Neal having sex with a woman other than his wife and $100,000, according to the sheriff's investigative report.

Where's Ashton Kutcher?

Detectives found phone records showing a "flurry of calls" between Rowles and O'Neal's business partner Mark Stevens around the time of the February 2008 incident, the sheriff's report said. O'Neal and Stevens both denied any involvement in the attack when interviewed by sheriff's investigators in 2008, the Times said. Prosecutors said they have no evidence that a sex tape exists. In a July 2009 letter asking for leniency in Ross' sentencing for unrelated federal drug and firearm charges, a sheriff's captain wrote that Ross was cooperating with law enforcement as a victim and witness in an incident that may implicate a "celebrity," the Times reported.

Again: Shaq. Alleged sex tape. Gang beating. Not funny.

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