Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard apologizes for using anti-Semitic slur, says he did not know its meaning.


Tags:NBAMiami HeatAnti-SemitismBen Ariel , Mar 10 , 2021 3:58 AMShare

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard apologized on Tuesday after using an anti-Semitic slur during a recent video game livestream, ESPN reports.

In a video that surfaced earlier Tuesday on social media, Leonard can be heard saying the word “k*ke”.

“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” Leonard wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.

“While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, 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,” he added.

“I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else. This is not a proper representation of who I am and I want to apologize to the Arisons, my teammates, coaches, front office, and everyone associated with the Miami Heat organization, to my family, to our loyal fans and to others in the Jewish community who I have hurt. I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word,” wrote Leonard.

The NBA said it is “in the process of gathering more information” on the incident.

“The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech,” league spokesman Mike Bass said.

The Heat, who were in the final day of their All-Star break and are not formally resuming practice until Wednesday, had no immediate comment.

The Anti-Defamation League earlier criticized Leonard over the use of the word.

“We are shocked and disappointed to see Meyers Leonard use this ugly, offensive anti-Semitic slur. We have reached out to the Miami Heat and NBA about this and urge Mr. Leonard to issue an apology immediately for this egregious and hateful rhetoric,” it tweeted.

Leonard sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in January and appeared in only three games for the Heat this year.