The NBA has suspended Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard for one-week and fined the center $50,000 for an anti-Semitic slur he made during a recent video game stream, the league announced Thursday. Leonard also will be required to participate in a cultural diversity program. Leonard said the slur on Monday during a video game session on Twitch; a video surfaced Tuesday of the clip and went viral on social media networks.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a news release: “Meyers Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society. Yesterday, he spoke to representatives 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, inclusion and respect — at all times moving forward.”
Leonard apologized for the comments on Instagram, writing in a post: “I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a live stream [Monday]. 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.”
The 29-year-old Leonard is in his ninth season and joined the Heat in 2019. Leonard has appeared in just three games this season and underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in February.