New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman shared an open letter to Meyers Leonard on Twitter after he was heard using an anti-Semitic slur while playing Call of Duty on Twitch earlier this week.
“I get the sense that you didn’t use that word out of hate, more out of ignorance. Most likely, you weren’t trying to hurt anyone or even profile Jews in your comment. That’s what makes it so destructive,” Edelman, who is Jewish, wrote. “When someone intends to be hateful, it’s usually met with great resistance. Casual ignorance is harder to combat and has greater reach, especially when you command great influence. Hate is like a virus. Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread.”
Read the letter in its entirety below.
Last year, Edelman reached out to DeSean Jackson after the NFL wide receiver shared some anti-Semitic posts, and suggested the two visit the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. “Even though we’re talking about anti-Semitism, I don’t want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is and how we need to stay behind it,” Edelman explained. “I think the Black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities.”
Instead of writing Jackson off, Edelman wanted to see some real change be made, even if it meant having to engage in some uncomfortable conversations. One day later, Jackson responded, but the Patriots wideout wouldn’t get into specifics regarding what was said. Edelman is using a somewhat similar approach with Leonard, inviting him to a Shabbat dinner.
The Miami Heat have placed Leonard on indefinite leave as the league conducts an investigation into the matter. Leonard has already issued an apology, claiming he’s “committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about this type of hate and how we can fight it.” That is where Edelman comes in.