UPDATE 2: The Miami Heat have released a statement saying that Meyers Leonard will be away from the team “indefinitely” as the NBA conducts its investigation into Leonard’s use of an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch livestream while playing a Call of Duty video game.
Statement from the Miami Heat on center Meyers Leonard: pic.twitter.com/RmRaLZ1bxR— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 10, 2021
Meyers Leonard also issued an apology earlier today.
END OF UPDATE
Meyers Leonard has played Call of Duty on livestreams since joining the Miami Heat last season. Now, that has landed the center in hot water.
Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream today, prompting immediate criticism.
Meyers Leonard says racial slurs while playing CoD pic.twitter.com/WHwUnbV0pR— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) March 9, 2021
A spokesperson for the Heat said that they are reviewing the video. The team’s managing general partner, Micky Arison, is Jewish. Miami is also home to a large Jewish population.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass, also released a statement saying that the league unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.
Statement from NBA spokesman Mike Bass on Miami’s Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur on a Twitch 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.”— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 9, 2021
Leonard played in just three games this season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery. The NBA granted the Heat a $4.7 million disabled-player exception after his injury, which they could use on a free agent. If the Heat trade Leonard by the league’s March 25 trade deadline, the disabled-player exception would go away, too.
During last season’s bubble run, Leonard was the only Heat player who stood during the national anthem. All other players and coaches kneeled. At the time, some praised Leonard for taking an unpopular stance among his NBA colleagues. His use of an anti-Semitic slur has led some to look at his decision to stand in a different light.