Meyers Leonard to Be Away from Heat Indefinitely After Using Anti-Semitic Slur

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2021

Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely after his use of an anti-Semitic slur.

Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT


Video emerged Tuesday of Leonard calling another player a "f--king k--e b---h" when he was playing Call of Duty during a live stream (warning: video contains profanity and an anti-Semitic slur):

Main Team @MainTeamSports

Meyers Leonard says racial slurs while playing CoD https://t.co/WHwUnbV0pR

Leonard apologized and said he did not know what the word meant at the time:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: https://t.co/AOi7ZE6nCy

"We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information," NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement, per Marc Stein of the New York Times. "The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech."

Stein also reported the Heat were reviewing the video.

Leonard is well known among the gaming community and announced in June 2019 that he partnered with FaZe Clan. However, Scuf Gaming and Origin PC both announced after the video emerged that they had ended their working relationships with the Miami big man while they reviewed his actions.

Leonard used the slur at a time when anti-Semitism has been on the rise in the United States.

The Anti-Defamation League reported anti-Semitic acts increased in 2016 after dropping for approximately 15 years, while the American Jewish Committee noted an FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Report determined 60 percent of religious-based hate crimes in 2019 were directed toward Jewish people, though they make up less than two percent of the American population.

On the court, Leonard has appeared in just three games this season for the Heat.