Report: Meyers Leonard's Twitch Ban Lifted After Using Anti-Semitic Slur

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 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

NBA player Meyers Leonard has reportedly had his Twitch ban lifted after using an anti-Semitic slur while streaming Call of Duty: Warzone last week, per TMZ Sports.

Leonard was also suspended by the NBA for one week and fined $50,000. He apologized after the incident, claiming he didn't know the word he used during the live stream was a slur:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

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

Leonard was a member of the Miami Heat at the time, and the team released the following statement after the incident: "The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong, and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise. To hear it from a Miami Heat player is especially disappointing and hurtful to all those who work here, as well as the larger South Florida, Miami Heat and NBA communities."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver added:

"Meyers Leonard's comment was inexcusable and hurtful, and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society. Yesterday, he spoke to representatives of the Anti-Defamation League to better understand the impact of his words and we accept that he is genuinely remorseful. We have further communicated to Meyers that derogatory comments like this will not be tolerated and that he will be expected to uphold the core values of our league—equality, tolerance, inclusion and respect—at all times moving forward."

Leonard's use of the slur comes at a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the United States. Since 2016, acts of anti-Semitism have been increasing after dropping for almost 15 years, according to the Anti-Defamation League. In 2019, the rise saw the ADL record the highest number of acts of anti-Semitic hate and violence across the U.S. since it began documenting these acts in 1979. The trend has continued, with multiple reports of anti-Semitic vandalism ​from New York to Washington already in 2021.

Leonard has since been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder alongside a second-round pick for veteran forward Trevor Ariza. Per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the Thunder "do not plan to keep Leonard. He will not report to Oklahoma City and will not be an active member of the team."

The veteran big man is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and is out for the season. He has a $10.1 million team option for the 2021-22 season, though it will be a moot point if the Thunder waive him to create another roster spot. 

TMZ Sports reported that Leonard has not streamed since being reinstated on Twitch and "doesn't plan on doing so for a while—while he continues to focus on educating himself."