Miami Heat suspend center Meyers Leonard over anti-Semitic slur

Leonard used the anti-Semitic slur “k*ke” while streaming a video game. Club says he will be "away from the team indefinitely".

Elad Benari ,

Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard
Reuters

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been placed on indefinite leave by the team after using the anti-Semitic slur “k*ke” while streaming a video game.

The club said the 29-year-old would "be away from the team indefinitely" after footage of the incident on Monday emerged.

"The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech," the club said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"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,” the team added.

"Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely. The Miami Heat will cooperate with the NBA while it conducts its investigation."

Leonard apologized on Tuesday for using the anti-Semitic slur, claiming in a statement he did not know the meaning of the word when he used it.

"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 said.

The NBA said on Tuesday it is “in the process of gathering more information” on the incident.

"The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech," league spokesman Mike Bass said.

The Anti-Defamation League had criticized Leonard over the use of the word.

“We are shocked and disappointed to see Meyers Leonard use this ugly, offensive anti-Semitic slur. We have reached out to the Miami Heat and NBA about this and urge Mr. Leonard to issue an apology immediately for this egregious and hateful rhetoric,” it tweeted.



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