When former Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard used an antisemitic slur on a video game livestream in March, Julian Edelman reached out and wrote him a letter. The now-retired New England Patriots wide receiver is Jewish, but his letter wasn't about anger or criticism — instead, Edelman sought to educate Leonard about antisemitism and invited him to Shabbat dinner.
Edelman talked about that letter, and his reaction to Leonard's slur, in a recent interview on the Showtime show "Desus & Mero."
Leonard isn't mentioned by name, but since Edelman only got publicly involved with one incident of athlete antisemitism this year, we can be pretty sure that's what they're talking about. At the 15:45 mark in the video, Desus mentions the incident and asks Edelman how it feels to be a famous Jewish person who sometimes has to be the face of responding to antisemitism.
"It's almost a responsibility for your culture," Edelman said. "There's always going to be some kind of adversity. Why don't we educate each other? A lot of people, they've never had an experience with a certain group of people, a certain color of people, a certain religion, so they don't really know.
"Why don't we give an experience and then let them have a judgment after that? Why don't we educate each other?"
Edelman put himself in Leonard's shoes
Just like in his letter, Edelman reiterated that he doesn't think Leonard knew what he was doing, but he still felt the need to get involved and stand up for Jewish people — though not in an angry way. He tried to put himself in Leonard's place, and remembered that he was once young and, well, kind of an idiot.
"I know I've said stupid things. I've been a dumb idiot in different matters. Let me put myself in this kid's situation. Did he really know what was going on? There's too much to go, so let's try something else."
Edelman said that his goal with this is education and positive movement, and he said it in a way that only Julian Edelman could.
"As long as the outcome is income, or progression, that's what it's about."
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