Meyers Leonard has been streaming Call of Duty in his free time, and on Tuesday afternoon the Miami Heat center was caught using anti-Semitic racial slur on stream.
Warning: This video contains NSFW language and a racial slur.
Meyers Leonard says racial slurs while playing CoD pic.twitter.com/WHwUnbV0pR— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) March 9, 2021
Leonard paused, seemingly to think about what he was going to say next, before using the anti-Semitic slur. Writing off a racial slur as a “slip” is never acceptable, but Leonard’s choice of words had more intentionality than past incidents like this. The person he was playing with laughed about Leonard’s slur, and the two resumed playing.
Immediately the video went viral. Roughly 30 minutes after using the slur Leonard got a phone call and ended his stream early.
Dis dude Meyers Leonard called someone a racist slur and then got a phone call a little later and had to dip. Yeah, not a good look pic.twitter.com/HQ05uGRIv7— Harold (@WassupHarold) March 9, 2021
“Yo, my wife needs me. I uh ... I gotta roll brother. GGs.”
Leonard is missing the 2020-21 season due to a shoulder injury, and garnered attention during the play in the NBA Bubble last season by being the only player on the Heat roster to stand during the national anthem.
At the time Leonard said he “stood against bigotry, racism, and hate,” but that his decision to stand during the anthem came from a place of supporting the military, not counter-protesting the Black Lives Matter movement.
I STAND.— Meyers Leonard (@MeyersLeonard) January 7, 2021
I STAND FOR the men and women, like my brother who have served this country.
I STAND AGAINST the violence and riots in DC.
I STAND in solidarity with my teammates and brothers.
I STAND AGAINST bigotry, racism, and hate. pic.twitter.com/cw6CNNbjB9
The Miami Heat are reportedly “reviewing” the clip of Leonard using the slur, while the NBA issued a stronger statement, adding they’re gathering more information on the incident.
NBA spokesman Mike Bass statement on Meyers Leonard, who said an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream: “We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information. The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 9, 2021
In addition to the NBA investigation, Leonard’s sponsors, ORIGINPC and SCUF Gaming, both owned by gaming giant Corsair, announced they were ending working relationships with him due to the slur, using identical language.
A comment was recently made by Meyers Leonard that does not reflect the values or views of ORIGIN PC. We have decided to cease our working relationship with Meyers as we look into it further.— originpc (@ORIGINPC) March 9, 2021
Meyers Leonard issues apology for using slur
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: pic.twitter.com/AOi7ZE6nCy— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 10, 2021
Meyers Leonard will be away from Heat indefinitely during NBA investigation
Statement from the Miami Heat on center Meyers Leonard: pic.twitter.com/RmRaLZ1bxR— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 10, 2021
On Thursday Shams Charania reported further extent of his penalties. Leonard will have to complete a cultural diversity program mandated by the NBA, as well as being fined $50,000. In addition he is suspended from all Heat facilities for one week.