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March 10, 2021 11:55 am

US Jewish Organizations Condemn NBA Player Meyers Leonard’s Use of Vicious Antisemitic Slur During Livestream

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Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard is guarded by Boston Celtics center Daniel Theis during their Jan. 28 match at American Airlines Arena. Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports.

American Jewish organizations reacted with concern to footage that emerged on Monday of NBA player Meyers Leonard using a vile antisemitic slur while participating in a livestream of the video game ‘Call of Duty.’

“F–ing coward. Don’t f–ing snipe me, you f–ing k–e b—h,”  29-year-old Miami Heat center Leonard was heard saying during the livestream. In response, the Heat placed Leonard under indefinite suspension from the team.

The Washington, DC-based advocacy organization B’nai B’rith International said on Twitter that it had been “appalled to hear Meyers Leonard using a horrific antisemitic slur while streaming his gaming session on Twitch. We urge Leonard to issue an apology immediately and thank the NBA and Miami Heat for swiftly reviewing his hateful comments.”

Leonard did issue an apology for the antisemitic slur later on Monday, claiming on his Instagram account that he “didn’t know what the word meant at the time.” Nonetheless, he continued, “my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong. 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.”

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In a separate statement, the Miami Heat said it “vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech. 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.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said that it had been “shocked and disappointed” to see Leonard using “this ugly, offensive antisemitic slur.” The ADL said it had been in contact with both the NBA and the Miami Heat regarding the matter.

The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) said on Tuesday night that it had noted Leonard’s apology, but asked “what will the consequences of Meyers Leonard slur be?”

“We await action by NBA and Miami Heat,” the SWC tweeted, adding the hashtag “#antisemitic.”

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