UPDATED 3/11, 11:30 a.m. ET: After using an anti-Semitic slur and claiming he didn’t know what the word meant, Meyers Leonard is being fined $50,000 and getting a suspension from the Miami Heat’s facilities and activities for a week, per Shams Charania.
Leonard is vowing to educate himself about Jewish culture and hate speech. TMZ reports he is using his time on suspension to reflect on his words, and multiple notable Jewish organizations have already been in contact with him. At a protest of NBC for its inaccurate depictions of Orthodox Jews in shows such as Law & Order: SVU and Nurses, Jew in the City founder Allison Josephs said that this could be an educational moment.
“I don’t know if the guy needs to be removed, I think he was, but I would rather let him meet some Jewish people and let him see the good that we can do,” Josephs said. “Look, human beings make mistakes. If we keep canceling and firing everyone that says a wrong comment, we may have nobody left working. But what I do think is that we should build bridges. We should have conversations, six feet apart, and that everybody has more learning that they can do. This should be an opportunity for education.”
UPDATED 3/9, 10:07 p.m. ET: Meyers Leonard is now on indefinite leave from the Miami Heat as an investigation is being conducted into the NBA player’s use of an anti-Semitic slur, the team said in a statement.
UPDATED 3/9, 7:42 p.m. ET: Meyers Leonard has released a statement in which he apologizes for using an anti-Semitic slur.
You can read his apology, which was posted to Instagram, below.
See original story below.
Not being a racist seems to be the hardest thing to accomplish nowadays.
“Fucking cowards. Don’t fucking snipe me! You fucking k*ke bitch,” Leonard said during the stream, captured below.
The 29-year-old, who has over 69,000 followers on Twitch and more than 550K between Twitter and Instagram, took a phone call early Tuesday afternoon while streaming. He followed that short, inaudible conversation by saying, “Yo, my wife needs me, she just called me. I’ll, uh—I gotta roll, brother.” Prior to that he’d tweeted he was about to go live and give away Astro Gaming headsets to followers; that post has been deleted.
According to New York Times reporter Marc Stein, a spokesperson for the Heat says the team is reviewing the video. Additionally, The Athletic’s Shams Charania shared a statement from NBA spokesman Mike Bass, who said, “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.
Citing a source, reporter Andy Slayter shared that Leonard has lost his gaming sponsorship with ORIGIN PC following the incident.
During the Miami Heat’s Finals run last year in the NBA bubble, Leonard was the sole Heat player to stand during the National Anthem. When asked why he didn’t kneel in solidarity, Leonard was unable to separate the protest from the false idea that it is disrespecting the military.
“Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” he told the Associated Press in August. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement and I love and support the military and my brother and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”