MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A video posted on Twitter shows Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur while playing Call of Duty on a Twitch stream.
The team is aware of the video, the NBA is also looking into the matter.
Tuesday evening, Leonard apologized in an Instagram post, writing he was “deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur.”
Leonard added he “didn’t know what the word meant at the time” but that his “ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse.”
Leonard also said he was apologizing to team managing general partner Micky Arison and his family, the team’s players, coaches and front office, his family and the Jewish community, among others.
“I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else,” Leonard wrote.
Late Tuesday night, the Miami Heat released the following statement:
“The Miami HEAT vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech. 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.”
Tuesday afternoon, the Anti-Defamation League responded with a tweet, which said:
“We are shocked and disappointed to see @MeyersLeonard use this ugly, offensive #antisemitic slur. We have reached out to the @MiamiHEAT and @NBA about this and urge Mr. Leonard to issue an apology immediately for this egregious and hateful rhetoric.”
Sponsors have begun cutting ties with Leonard, including SCUF and and ASTRO Gaming.
A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of SCUF. We have decided to cease our working relationship with Meyers as we look into it further.
— SCUF (@ScufGaming) March 9, 2021
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 10, 2021
Leonard, 29, is recovering from a shoulder injury and is out for the season. He signed a $19.5 million, two-year contract in November.
Leonard, who is said to be an avid gamer, just this week posted about his game-playing on Twitch:
“My passion away from the basketball floor!!! I’ve been incredibly blessed to grow my community and give them a place to come have a good time and meet great people! Hammer Squad!!!”