Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard found himself leading headlines around the NBA and beyond on Tuesday for all the wrong reasons, as video of Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch stream of Call of Duty began circulating in the early afternoon.
Leonard would issue a statement on Tuesday evening, claiming ignorance about the meaning of the word and how offensive it is, while promising to do better in the future. That excuse was hard to believe given the way he said it, pausing before doing so and belting it out in a derogatory manner, and that moderators on the stream were apparently deleting comments that tried to tell him to address using the slur as he continued on afterwards.
i grabbed one pic.twitter.com/DkwMTV9Cvz
— Harry Lyles Jr. (@harrylylesjr) March 10, 2021
Leonard was banned from Twitch later that night, and the NBA and Miami Heat offered initial statements that they were reviewing and investigating the video. Late Tuesday night the Heat issued their first formal statement, saying the organization “vehemently condemns” any form of hate speech and noting that Leonard would be on an indefinite absence from the team while the NBA conducts its investigation.
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 10, 2021
What goes into an investigation of such a video is a bit of a mystery given that it seems pretty cut and dry, but we’ll learn in the coming days what punishment may be coming Leonard’s way from the league and it’s clear that the team will support whatever steps the NBA chooses to take from here.