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Meyers Leonard is no longer a member of the Miami Heat about a week after he uttered an anti-Semitic slur while he live-streamed himself playing the “Call of Duty” video game.
The Heat traded Leonard to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Trevor Ariza and a 2027 second-round draft pick. While the Heat acknowledged Leonard’s contributions to the 2020 Eastern Conference championship team, they called his comments “very hurtful and disappointing.”
“Meyers was a key part of our team that made a run to the NBA Finals and we will always be grateful for his contributions and leadership last season. His recent comments were very hurtful and disappointing, but, we are encouraged that he has spent this last week meeting with community leaders, Rabbis and Holocaust survivors to greater understand the impact of his words and we hope that his education will continue. We wish Meyers and Elle the best of luck in the future,” the team said.
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Oklahoma City said that Leonard will not be reporting to the team and will not be an active member of the roster. ESPN reported that “the key to the deal for Oklahoma City was stockpiling another future draft pick.” The sports network said it is likely Oklahoma City will keep Leonard under contract through the March 25 trade deadline in case there’s “an opportunity to use his contract in another transaction.”
Leonard’s fate after March 25 is unknown.
Last week, the NBA announced its discipline against Leonard. He was barred from the team’s facilities for a week and fined $50,000.
“Meyers Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “Yesterday, he spoke to [a] representative 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 and respect — at all times moving forward.”
HEAT’S MEYERS LEONARD PUNISHED FOR USING ANTI-SEMITIC SLUR DURING VIDEO GAME LIVESTREAM
Leonard came under immediate scrutiny as videos circulated on social media. He apparently directed the slur to somebody else he was playing with during the live stream. At the time, he had more than 69,000 followers on Twitch, and over 550,000 between his Twitter and Instagram platforms.
“F–king cowards. Don’t f–king snipe me. You f–king k–e b–ch,” Leonard said during the stream.
Leonard claimed in an apology note that he did not know what the word meant at the time.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a live stream yesterday,” Leonard said in a statement. “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 continued. “I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else.”
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“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,” he added. “I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
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