An NBA player for the Miami Heat is in hot water after yelling an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream of his playing a video game on Monday.
Video of center Meyers Leonard using the insult was circulated immediately on social media.
“F**** cowards, don’t f**** snipe at me you f**** k*** b***,” he is heard saying on the video.
Complicating the matter was that Meyers had an endorsement deal with OriginPC, a company that sells gamer computer consoles. They immediately terminated their relationship with Meyers.
“A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of ORIGIN PC. We have decided to cease our working relationship with Meyers as we look into it further,” said the company on Twitter.
A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of ORIGIN PC. We have decid… https://t.co/mm9NyP9hkn
— originpc (@originpc)1615325411.0
Mike Bass, a spokesperson for the NBA, released a statement about the incident.
“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,” said Bass.
Leonard later released a lengthy statement apologizing for using the epithet, but claiming that he didn’t know what it meant.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday. While I don’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong,” said Leonard.
“I am now more aware of its meaning and I am committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about 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,” he continued.
“This is not a proper representation of who I am and I want to apologize to the Arisons, my teammates, coaches, front office, and everyone associated with the Miami Heat organization, to my family, to our loyal fans and to others in the Jewish community who I have hurt,” Leonard concluded. “I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Some critics of Leonard pointed out that he was the only player on the Miami Heat to stand for the national anthem while others kneeled. He said at the time that he did it out of respect for his brother, who was in the military, but that he still respected the Black Lives Matter movement.
The team said they were reviewing the video.
Here’s a local news report about the incident:
Miami Heat Player Meyers Leonard Uses Anti-Semitic Slur While Streaming Video Game