Myers Leonard Suspended: Miami Heat center Myers Leonard has been suspended for one week and fined $50,000 after saying anti-Semitic slur when live streaming Call of Duty. Leonard, 29 is in his second season with the Miami Heat after spending his first seven in Portland.
People around the league including coach Erik Spoelstra condemned Leonard’s actions along with former players and athletes from other leagues. “He said something that was extremely distasteful and hurtful,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we’re left with the aftermath of that, there are consequences to words and those were extremely hurtful words.” The NBA is also requiring Leonard to participate in a cultural diversity program.
After playing only three games this season Leonard went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. Leonard, a solid role player and a big man that can spread the floor with an above-average three-point ball has a team option worth up to $10 million with the Heat following this season and has the opportunity to become a free agent next offseason if the Heat declines his option.
Athletes Around Sports Respond to Leonard
Charles Barkley is an NBA legend and somebody who is considered outspoken across the NBA. Barkley is well retired now from basketball but is a vocal member on TNT’s pregame series NBA on TNT. Barkley commented on Leonards’s actions and knows that it was a major mistake for Leonard, but believes he deserves a second chance.
“I like Meyers Leonard,” Barkley said during the NBA on TNT. “He said something that was really stupid. He made a huge mistake.” “We live in a society today,” Barkley said, “they call it the cancel culture, when everybody says something stupid or dumb, we want to end their life. I’m not a big believer in that.”
Many around the league agree with Barkley but understand the severity of what Leonard did. For Leonard, there will be no third chance and it is important that he learns from his actions and becomes a better person from this entire situation.
Julian Edelman on Leonard
Julian Edelman has been with the New England Patriots for 11 seasons and has won three Super Bowls. Edelman is Jewish and has made headlines in multiple instances using his platform to condemn racism in many different cases. Edelman took notice of Leonards’s comments and offered his thoughts.
“I get the sense that you didn’t use that word out of hate, more out of ignorance. Most likely, you weren’t trying to hurt anyone or even profile Jews in your comment. That’s what makes it so destructive. When someone intends to be hateful, it’s usually met with great resistance.
Casual ignorance is harder to combat and has greater reach, especially when you command great influence. Hate is like a virus. Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread.”
Edelman knows that Leonard did not use the slur in a hateful way, but knows that he should not have used the word at all. Edelman added that he visits Miami frequently and is open to meeting Leonard and inviting him to one of his Shabbat dinners which is a celebratory meal that begins the Jewish day of rest.
Leonard’s Video Game Deals Ended
In response to the viral video of Leonard using the slur on a live stream, multiple sponsorships that Leonard had for his Twitch live stream channel have ended. Leonard will no longer be sponsored by Scuf Gaming or Astro Gaming.
Faze Clan is one of the most famous professional gaming teams in the entire world. Leonard was associated with the group, but not an official member. Following Leonard’s actions Faze Clan took to Twitter to respond.
“We were incredibly disappointed to hear Meyers’ stream today. FaZe does not tolerate hate speech or discriminatory language of any kind. While Meyers is not a member of FaZe, we are cutting ties with him.”
For Leonard, he will need to continue to focus on rehabbing his shoulder injury but now needs to focus heavily on rebuilding his reputation.