NBA player apologises after using 'vicious' slur while gaming

Chris Young
·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Miami Heat centre Meyers Leonard has apologised after using an anti-semitic slur against another player while hosting a live-stream of Call of Duty on Twitch. Pictures: Getty Images/Twitter
Miami Heat centre Meyers Leonard has apologised after using an anti-semitic slur against another player while hosting a live-stream of Call of Duty on Twitch. Pictures: Getty Images/Twitter

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has issued an apology after using an anti-semitic slur while hosting a live stream of himself playing Call of Duty with friends.

In the video, which was shared on Twitter on Wednesday morning, Leonard directs the slur at another player.

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"F***ing cowards," Leonard says. "Don't f***ing snipe at me you k*** bitch."

Later in the session, Leonard takes a break to take a phone call before abruptly ending the stream.

"Yo, my wife needs me," Leonard says. "She just called me. I gotta roll brother."

It's not clear if Leonard quit after he was informed that his slur gained traction on social media.

After the clips gained widespread traction on social media, Leonard later issued an apology via his Twitter account.

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The 29-year-old claimed he didn't know what the word meant, and pledged to learn from the incident.

"I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday," Leonard wrote. 

"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 on this type of hate and how we can fight it.

"I acknowledge and own my mistake and there's no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else.

"I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than this word."

Fan backlash after Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard's anti-semitic slur

Leonard, a nine-year NBA veteran, copped a considerable amount of criticism online for his use of the slur, and subsequent claim that he didn't know what it meant.

Spokesman for the NBA, Mike Bass, confirmed the league would investigate the incident.

“We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information," he said. 

"The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”

Podcast host Chris Walder labelled the apology 'incredibly weak', and suggested Leonard would have at least known it was a deliberately offensive thing to say, even if he didn't know its meaning.

"Maybe Meyers Leonard didn’t know what the word meant exactly, but he certainly knew it was offensive in context," he wrote. 

"He went through his hate Rolodex, paused, and then popped that word out. His apology was incredibly weak."

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Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks was asked about the incident, labelling it 'unacceptable'.

"Totally unacceptable. I think our players know better... I'm sure the league will do the right thing and address it," he said.

Leonard signed a one-year, $9.4M (USD) contract with the Heat prior to the 2020/2021 season. He will be a free agent at the end of the season.

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