The NBA finished its investigation into Meyers Leonard, who shouted an anti-semitic racial slur while live streaming on Twitch earlier this week, and the Miami Heat guard has been hit with a six-figure fine and suspension.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeted on March 11, Heat’s Meyers Leonard has been fined $50,000 and suspended from all Heat facilities and team activities for one week for an anti-Semitic comment he made Monday.”
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In addition to the fine and suspension, the NBA is also requiring the 29-year-old to attend a cultural-diversity program. NBA commissioner Adam Silver put down the hammer on “the Hammer” in the league’s official statement on the matter.
“Meyers Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society,” Silver said. “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 Claimed He Did Not Know the Meaning of the Word ‘K***’ In His Apology Statement
Before the NBA issued Leonard’s punishment, Origin PC, one of his gaming sponsors, had already cut ties with the Heat player, according to TMZ.
On Tuesday evening, Leonard issued a lengthy apology via Instagram, claiming he didn’t know what the word meant at the time and apologizing for his “ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community. … I was just wrong.”
“This is not a proper representation of who I am,” Leonard wrote. “I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Users online noted that Micky Arison, who owns the Miami Heat franchise, is a Jewish billionaire businessman born in Tel-Aviv, Israel. In 2017, the Miami Herald’s Susan Miller Degnan wrote about how the Heat’s large Jewish fanbase responded when the playoffs coincided with the Passover holiday.
Leonard’s Instagram apology letter said in part, “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.”
Leonard, who recently purchased an $8 million home in Miami, has made it clear that he would like to stay with the Heat after his two-year, $19.5 million contract expires at the end of the season.
Heat’s Head Coach Erik Spoelstra Is ‘Very Disappointed’ in Leonard
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about Leonard’s actions to the media on Wednesday, stating that he was “just very disappointed… Those words are extremely hurtful. We don’t condone that. And it’s just so much more that needs to be done in terms of education of what’s right and what’s wrong.”
“We know Meyers. Meyers has been a really good teammate,” Spoelstra continued “He’s a good human being. He said something that was extremely distasteful and hurtful. And we’re left with the aftermath. We don’t condone that obviously. It was a disappointing day. We’ve had some conversations here, as a team.”
“He feels really bad about it,” Coach Spo said. “And it doesn’t matter the intent. It’s just not right.”