Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard will be away from the team after using an Anti-Semitic slur during a live stream on his Twitch channel, according to CBS Sports.
The clip was from a stream that aired Monday, but was only posted to social media Tuesday. The Heat announced on Tuesday night that Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely as they cooperate with the league’s investigation. “The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the team wrote in a 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.” Leonard was seen playing “Call of Duty: Warzone,” and said “F—–g cowards, don’t f—–g snipe at me you f—–g k— b—-.” The context of the comment as it relates to his gameplay is not clear as the clip was taken from a stream that was not saved onto his Twitch profile: streamers can leave older live streams up on their channel if they so choose to.
Leonard was streaming when the clip started circulating around Twitter. As Defector.com noted, the people in the chat began to be populated with viewers who brought up the slur. Moderators tried to delete messages and ban those users, but eventually had to switch over to a mode where users could only post emotes, Twitch’s version of emojis. Shortly after the stream abruptly ended, he deleted recent tweets with references to his streams and all of his archived Twitch videos, as Kevin Draper of the New York Times pointed out.
On Tuesday afternoon, Leonard issued an apology for the incident. “I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday. 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. I am now more aware of its meaning and I am committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about this type of hate and how we can fight it.” Leonard has not played since Jan. 9 and is currently recovering from shoulder surgery.
ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: CONNOR KMIECIK
PHOTO CREDITS: SPORTING NEWS