Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard was in the news for the wrong reasons on Tuesday after using an anti-Semitic slur on a video game live stream. After the video went viral, the Heat announced that Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely.
As expected, Meyers Leonard issued an apology for his actions. However, he unexpectedly received a heartfelt message from a three-time Super Bowl champion.
Meyers Leonard is ‘deeply sorry’ for his actions
While playing the popular video game “Call of Duty,” Meyers Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur. Since the stream was being recorded, the Heat center was caught saying the word “k*ke.”
The Heat released a statement on the matter by saying they were very disappointed with Leonard.
“The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the statement said. “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.”
Leonard has only appeared in three for the Heat this season. He underwent season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in February. The Illinois native averaged 3.3 points and 2.3 rebounds before getting hurt.
Jewish people have every right to be upset at Meyers Leonard since what he said was wrong. However, one of the best players in the NFL–who happens to be Jewish–decided to reach out to Leonard and offer him some help.
Julian Edelman writes open letter to Meyers Leonard
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman posted an open letter to Meyers Leonard on his Twitter account. The three-time Super Bowl champion even invited Leonard to a Shabbat dinner so they could talk.
Edelman’s letter reads, in part: “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. I’m down in Miami fairly often. Let’s do a Shabbat dinner with some friends and I’ll show you a fun time.”
This isn’t the first time Edelman has reached out to a fellow athlete regarding anti-Semitic posts. He previously invited DeSean Jackson to the United States Holocaust Museum after Jackson’s anti-Semitic social media posts.
Patriots fans already knew that Julian Edelman was a great person. Now, Meyers Leonard and the rest of the sports world are learning what makes the New England superstar such a gifted individual.
How will NBA players react to this?
It will be interesting to see how the Miami players react to Meyers Leonard’s mistake. Since he’s not a rotational player, Leonard’s absence for his anti-Semitic slur won’t affect the team.
However, will Jewish players in the NBA forgive the veteran for his mistake? Will this slur cost Meyers Leonard another job in the league? Only time will tell.