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Meyers Leonard Addresses Florida Synagogue After Using Antisemitic Slur

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 17, 2021

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Free-agent NBA forward Meyers Leonard spoke to children at a Florida synagogue last weekend, addressing his use of an antisemitic slur that led to him being fined $50,000 and suspended one week by the NBA. 

Leonard, who again apologized for his comments, said he has spent the last three months reflecting on his actions and getting better acquainted with the Jewish community. 

"I've had a lot of really good moments and some pretty dark emotional moments but I'd just like to say, again, I'm so, so thankful for the people in the Jewish community whether it's a little kid, a teenager, a high schooler or a rabbi," Leonard said. 

"I've just been very educated, I've had so many events away from the public eye that have just uplifted not only myself, my wife and our immediate family but my friends. I just learned so much and I'm so thankful through a very dark moment. Sometimes people say God works in mysterious ways."

Leonard used the word "k--e," an ethnic slur used to denigrate Jewish people, while streaming himself playing video games on Twitch in March. The NBA suspended him a day later and condemned his statement, with Leonard issuing an apology on Instagram.

Leonard, who was out of the lineup due to injury, never returned to the Miami Heat. The team later traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, who subsequently waived him. No team has expressed interest in signing Leonard, who spent nine seasons in the NBA with the Heat and Portland Trail Blazers.

Rabbi Efrem Goldberg spoke fondly of Leonard's efforts to better himself, saying he is a "great friend of the Jewish community."

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