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Meyers Leonard will be “away” from the Miami Heat indefinitely after he was caught uttering an anti-Semitic slur during a “Call of Duty” Twitch stream, the team said Tuesday.
Leonard used the term Monday while he was streaming and faced immense backlash the following day.
“The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the Heat said in a statement. “The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise. 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.”
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The organization added it was cooperating with the NBA’s investigation.
The clip of Leonard using the slur circulated across social media Tuesday.
He apparently directed the slur to somebody else he was playing with during the livestream. At the time, he had over 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.
WARNING: VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Leonard claimed in his 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. 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 know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Micky Arison owns the Heat.
Astro Gaming, who sponsored Leonard, said the company terminated its contract with the Heat center.
“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.”
Leonard is the latest pro athlete to get caught up in an anti-Semitic controversy.
Over the summer, then-Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Desean Jackson drew scrutiny after he promoted quotes falsely attributed to Adolph Hitler and praised anti-Semitic preacher Louis Farrakhan.
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Jackson apologized twice and was “penalized” in house by the Eagles.
Philadelphia released him last month.
Fox News’ Dan Canova and the AP contributed to this report.
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