Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard became the focus of the basketball world on Tuesday, and not for positive reasons. Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur while streaming Call of Duty and, within a very short period of time, a firestorm formed. By Tuesday evening, Leonard released a statement of apology but, in doing so, he also claimed that he was unaware of the meaning behind the slur that he casually used on a live stream with the intent of it being derogatory.
Shortly after his apology surfaced, Leonard was banned from Twitch, the platform on which he uttered the slur. Twitch also offered a statement, per Jacob Wolf of Dot Esports.
“We do not allow the use of hateful slurs on Twitch,” the statement reads. “The safety of our community is our top priority, and per our guidelines we reserve the right to suspend any account for conduct that we determine to be inappropriate, harmful, or puts our community at risk.”
At the time of this post, both the Miami Heat and the NBA have indicated they are investigating the video, with no formal statements beyond that.
The Heat are reviewing video of center Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur earlier today while live-streaming his video-game play via Twitch, according to a team spokesman.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 9, 2021
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
Prior to the official ban from Twitch, FaZe Clan released a statement, cutting ties with Leonard, who was prominently associated with the group as an investor and member — although his membership status was disputed by FaZe Clan in their statement.
A statement from FaZe Clan. pic.twitter.com/ePo1NGEaN5
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) March 9, 2021
It remains to be seen as to whether Leonard will incur any disciple related to his day job as an NBA player. Still, his actions were wholly unacceptable, and his apology doesn’t remove any future-facing accountability.