The Miami Heat have decided to ban center Meyers Leonard indefinitely after reviewing a video in which he uttered an anti-Semitic slur.
The incident occurred while Leonard was playing Call of Duty, an online video game. At one point, Leonard can be heard saying, “F—— cowards, don’t f—— snipe at me you f—— k— b—-,” according to the Sun Sentinel.
The NBA issued a statement Tuesday, saying, “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.”
Later, the league announced that Leonard was going to be banned indefinitely for using the slur.
“The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the team wrote in the statement. “The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise. 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.
“Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely. The Miami Heat will cooperate with the NBA while it conducts its investigation.”
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 10, 2021
Leonard issued an apology for using the slur, though he claimed he didn’t know what it meant when he said it.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” Leonard wrote on Twitter. “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.”
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: pic.twitter.com/AOi7ZE6nCy
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 10, 2021
The NBA is currently investigating the incident.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass statement on Meyers Leonard, who said an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream: “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.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 9, 2021
Leonard is recovering from shoulder surgery but signed a two-year deal with the Heat worth nearly $20 million in November.
The 11th overall 2012 draft pick was the only member of the Heat to stand during the national anthem in August of last year, saying that he did so to honor families who have someone in the military. But he also insisted that he respects the Black Lives Matter movement.
Leonard has already lost at least one sponsor. According to TMZ, Origin PC has dumped the player.
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