MIAMI — The Miami Heat said Tuesday night that Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely, sharply criticizing his use of an anti-Semitic slur while playing a video game that was being livestreamed.
Leonard used the slur while livestreaming a first-person shooter game on Tuesday night.
"The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,'' the Heat said in a statement on Tuesday. "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 issued an apology on Instagram and said he did not know what the word he used meant at that time.
"I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday," Leonard wrote. "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.
An NBA spokesman said the league “unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”
The NBA is currently in the midst of its All-Star Break. ESPN reports that the team was scheduled to resume workouts on Wednesday. The Heat will take the court next against the Orlando Magic on Thursday.
Leonard is currently in the midst of his ninth year in the NBA. He's only appeared in three games for Miami so far this season.