Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard issued an apology on Tuesday night after a video surfaced showing the 29-year-old saying an anti-Semitic slur during a Twitch stream of him playing the video game “Call of Duty.”
“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. I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else.”
Leonard continued: “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 know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Leonard, who is in his second season with the Heat, has over 69,000 followers on Twitch, and over 550,000 between his Twitter and Instagram platforms. He apparently directed the slur to somebody else he was playing with during the livestream.
“F–king cowards. Don’t f–king snipe me. You f–king k–e b–ch,” Leonard said during the stream.
WARNING: VIDEOS CONTAIN GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Shortly after he used the derogatory word, Leonard received a phone call and said, “Yo, my wife needs me, she just called me. I gotta roll, brother.”
Astro Gaming announced that it terminated Leonard’s sponsorship after his anti-Semitic slur made its way onto social media.
“We are aware of comments made by sponsored streamer, Meyers Leonard,” the statement read. “ASTRO is committed to creating an inclusive gaming environment and one that combats racism and other forms of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment.
“For that reason, we are ending our relationship with Meyers Leonard, effective immediately.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass released a statement regarding the situation with Leonard.
“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,” Bass said.
Leonard spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers before joining Miami. Leonard, the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, is averaging only 3.3 points per game this season for Miami.