Meyers Leonard was heard uttering an anti-Semitic slur during a video game stream. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
The Miami Heat acknowledged on Tuesday that they’re aware of video showing backup center Meyers Leonard uttering an anti-Semitic slur while streaming a video game session.
The video surfaced Tuesday afternoon, showing Leonard talking while engaged in first-person shooter “Call of Duty.” Leonard says the slur while talking with another player.
Warning: The video below contains graphic language and a racial slur.
“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 his session.
“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.
Leonard says he didn’t know origin of slur
Leonard issued an apology Tuesday afternoon and claimed that he didn’t know what the slur meant when he said it.
“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.”
Heat, NBA reviewing incident
A team spokesman told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that the Heat are aware of the video and are reviewing it. The Heat have yet to release a statement. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league is also reviewing the video in a statement.
“We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information,” Bass said, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. “The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”
Leonard, a ninth-year NBA veteran is playing his second season in Miami after seven seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers. After starting 49 games last season, Leonard has been hampered by a shoulder injury this season and played in just three games. He had season-ending surgery on his shoulder in February.
Leonard is in the first year of a two-year contract in Miami. The Heat hold an option on next season, which would pay Leonard $10.1 million.
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