Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard was suspended from the team facilities and activities for a week and fined $50,000 after using an anti-Semitic slur during a video game livestream earlier this week.
The NBA announced the punishment against Leonard on Thursday. The Heat had said Tuesday he would be “away” from the team indefinitely.
“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.”
Leonard will also be required to participate in a cultural diversity program.
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 livestream. 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 livestream 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.”
“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.”