Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard in Hot Water Over Anti-Semitic Slur

The NBA center now 'away' from the team
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 10, 2021 1:44 AM CST
Meyers Leonard 'Away' From Miami Heat After Anti-Semitic Slur
Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard, center, greets his teammates before an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020, in Miami.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, file)

Meyers Leonard "will be away from the team indefinitely" after the Miami Heat center used an anti-Semitic slur while streaming himself playing a video game, the NBA team says. The 29-year-old was playing Call of Duty: Warzone live on Twitch Monday when he went on an expletive-laden rant that included the word "k---." The incident started gaining attention when social media users started circulating the clip Tuesday, CBS News reports. Leonard deleted the video and apologized, saying he did not know what the word meant. "I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday," he wrote on Instagram. "While I 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."

He says he will seek out education on "this type of hate and how we can fight it." The Heat says it "vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech," and that "to hear it from a Miami Heat player is especially disappointing and hurtful to all those who work here, as well as the larger South Florida, Miami Heat and NBA communities." The team says it will cooperate with the NBA as it carries out an investigation, and indeed, an NBA rep says in a statement, "We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information. The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech." In addition, some of Leonard's sponsors are either dropping him entirely or distancing themselves. Sports Illustrated notes Leonard is an avid video game streamer, and has almost 70,000 followers on Twitch. (Read more Miami Heat stories.)

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