NBA's Meyers Leonard 'Deeply Sorry' For Anti-Semitic Slur During Online Game

Meyers Leonard Miami Heat
Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat stands during the National Anthem before the start of a game on August 01, 2020. Leonard on March 9, 2021 apologized for using an anti-Semitic slur. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard said Tuesday that he's "deeply sorry" for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream video game. The Twitch video surfaced Tuesday, and the NBA immediately checked out the matter.

Leonard, 29, said the slur while playing "Call Of Duty: Warzone" on his Twitch channel: "F***ing cowards, don't f***ing snipe me, you f***ing k*** b****."

Leonard has about 70,000 Twitch followers. This comes two months after he tweeted to his 177,000 Twitter followers that he stands against "bigotry, racism, and hate."

I STAND FOR the men and women, like my brother who have served this country.
I STAND AGAINST the violence and riots in DC.
I STAND in solidarity with my teammates and brothers.
I STAND AGAINST bigotry, racism, and hate.

— Meyers Leonard (@MeyersLeonard) January 7, 2021

Leonard issued a statement Tuesday night saying he didn't understand the meaning of the word, and he made his apology.

"I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday," Leonard wrote on Instagram. "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."

Regardless of apology, the Miami Heat issued a statement Tuesday night that said the organization condemns Leonard's remarks, and they said the player will be away from al team activities "indefinitely."

— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) March 10, 2021

Tuesday afternoon, the NBA released a statement that said it was aware of Leonard's remarks, and that they were "in the process of gathering more information," saying, "The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech."

NBA spokesman Mike Bass statement on Meyers Leonard, who said an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream: “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.”

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 9, 2021

Leonard, in his ninth NBA season, has only appeared in three games this season. The 7-foot center from Illinois had a season-ending shoulder injury in January, and he will be a free agent at the end of this season. Leonard has averaged just nine minutes and three points in his short stint this season.

The Miami Heat are currently on break and will resume play Thursday against the Orlando Magic.

Leonard was a first-round pick in 2012 by the Portland Trailblazers. He has been known to enjoy banter with fans while playing video games online.