NBA Player Meyers Leonard Uses Antisemitic Slur While Livestreaming Video Game
Another day, another high profile person using an antisemitic slur.
NBA player Meyers Leonard issued an apology Tuesday after a video appeared to show him using an anti-Semitic slur while livestreaming a video game.
Leonard, a forward for the Miami Heat, was playing “Call of Duty: Warzone” on Monday when he said: “F**king cowards. Don’t f**king snipe at me. You k*** b*tch.”
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) March 9, 2021
The video was never posted to Leonard’s verified Twitch channel, but the individual in the video appears to be the same person shown in other videos posted to Leonard’s channel on Monday.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” Leonard wrote in an Instagram post, adding that he didn’t know what the word meant at the time. “My ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.”
Leonard says he’s “committed to properly seeking out” those who can educate him on “this type of hate and how we can fight it.”
“I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else,” Leonard said.
As CNN reports, Leonard did not allude to the sexist part of his remark in the apology. Although in his favor, at least he did not start to apologize for using an entirely different slur.
This has not stopped him from already suffering some consequences for his words.
The Heat released a statement saying the organization “vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech.”
“The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise,” the team’s statement read. “Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely. The Miami HEAT will cooperate with the NBA while it conducts its investigation.”
CNN Sports has reached out to Leonard’s agent, but has not heard back.
Three of Leonard’s business partners have severed their relationship with him, including Origin PC, SCUF Gaming and ASTRO Gaming. Both Origin and SCUF say Leonard’s comments do not reflect their values or views.
“ASTRO is committed to creating an inclusive gaming environment and one that combats racism and other forms of discrimination, retaliation and harassment. For that reason, we are ending our relationship with Meyers Leonard, effective immediately,” ASTRO Gaming’s statement read.
While I find it hard to believe he did not know what the word meant at the time, I still believe in the ability of people to repent. Perhaps this will be the wake-up call of duty he needs.