Heat's Meyers Leonard Suspended 1 Week, Fined $50K After Using Anti-Semitic Slur

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 11, 2021

Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard (0) runs up the court after a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic Friday, Jan. 3, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The NBA announced Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been suspended one week from team facilities and activities and fined $50,000 for using an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch live stream Monday.

In the NBA's release Thursday, it noted Leonard "will also be required to participate in a cultural diversity program."

Malika Andrews @malika_andrews

Leonard will also be required to participate in a “cultural diversity program.” Here is the full news release, which includes a statement from Commissioner Adam Silver: https://t.co/I0QWNozHQ7 https://t.co/YgugEyyVX8

In a video clip of the live stream posted on social media Tuesday, Leonard was playing Call of Duty when he said: "F--king cowards; don't f--king snipe me, you f--king k--e b---h," per ESPN's Nick Friedell.

The 29-year-old Virginia native released an apology on Instagram on Tuesday night:  

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Meyers Leonard releases a statement apologizing for his use of an anti-Semitic slur on a live stream https://t.co/4iaTEdZCuL

FaZe Clan, an eSports organization that started a business relationship with Leonard after he began streaming on Twitch, confirmed it was "cutting ties" with the NBA player.

The Heat announced Leonard would be "away from the team indefinitely" while the league conducted its investigation into the matter:

Miami HEAT @MiamiHEAT


"The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said after the league launched the probe, per Friedell.

Leonard's use of the slur came during a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States. The Anti-Defamation League reported in 2019 that anti-Semitic acts in the U.S. were at their highest since 1979, an increase of 12 percent over 2018. Anti-Semitic hate crimes also increased by 14 percent in 2019, and an FBI Hate Crimes Statistics Report found that over 60 percent of all religious-based hate crimes targeted Jewish people, despite them making up less than 2 percent of the country's population.

Leonard was already ruled out for the remainder of the 2020-21 season after undergoing shoulder surgery in February. Miami holds a team option on his contract for 2021-22.

The 2012 first-round pick joined the Heat as part of a four-team trade in July 2019. He spent the first seven years of his NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He's averaged 5.6 points and 3.9 rebounds across 447 career games.