MIAMI – The Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard apologized on Tuesday night for using an anti-Semitic slur while playing a live-streamed video game.
Leonard admitted to using the term on Monday and said he didn’t know what it meant at the time. In his apology, posted on social media, he said that “my ignorance of his story and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely no excuse and I was simply wrong.”
Leonard also said he apologizes to team general manager Micky Arison and his family, players, coaches and the team’s front office, his family and the Jewish community, among others.
“I admit and acknowledge my mistake and there’s no running away from something like this that’s so hurtful to someone else,” Leonard wrote.
Leonard was reportedly banned from Twitch, the platform on which the video game was broadcast live.
The video began circulating widely on social media on Tuesday afternoon. The Heat, who were on the final day of their All-Star hiatus and won’t officially resume training until Wednesday, made no immediate comment.
Leonard may face sanctions from the NBA, which said it was “in the process of gathering more information.”
“The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech,” said league spokesman Mike Bass.
Leonard, a 7-foot cross in his ninth NBA season, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in January and has only appeared in three games for the Heat this year. He could become a free agent this summer; the Heat have a team option on him for next season worth around $ 10 million.
This is the second time in recent months that Leonard has been at the center of a controversy.
Most players and coaches chose to kneel down last summer to play the US and Canadian national anthems when the NBA season resumed in a bubble at Walt Disney World in central Florida. Leonard stood instead, his hand over his heart, and did so with the support of his Heat teammates.
“I’m a compassionate human being and I really love everyone,” Leonard told The Associated Press at the time.
He added in this AP interview last summer, “I will continue to use my platform, voice and actions to show how much I care about African American culture and everyone else. I live my life. life to serve and impact others in a positive way. “
With files from Sportsnet