Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard Will Be Away From Team ‘Indefinitely’ After Anti-Semitic Slur

MIAMI - MARCH 31, 2018 : American Airline Arena empty seats of after a Miami Heat basketball game

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Meyers Leonard will not be around the Miami Heat organization anytime soon.

On Tuesday night, after video of the injured center using an anti-Semitic slur while playing Call of Duty on a Twitch stream surfaced, the team announced that Leonard would be “away indefinitely” as the NBA investigates the incident.

“The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the Heat said in a statement shared on Twitter. “The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise,” the statement continued. “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.

“Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely. The Miami Heat will cooperate with the NBA while it conducts its investigation.”

Leonard is currently recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery after appearing in just three games this season.

Shortly after the backlash began, Meyers issued a statement but it was too little, too late for his immediate future with the team.

“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a live stream yesterday,” Leonard wrote 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.

“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 I know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”

Last year, in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida, Leonard was the lone Heat player to stand during the national anthem at the height of protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and to speak out against racial injustice and police brutality.

Leonard said his decision was about supporting the military.

“Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” he said at the time, according to ESPN. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement and I love and support the military and my brother and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”

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