Meyers Leonard said an extremely offensive word during a live stream.
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard is about to find out the hard way that bigoted hate speech has a price.
During a Twitch live stream of Call of Duty on Tuesday that he himself set up, Leonard dropped the word “k*ke,” which is a racial slur for Jewish people:
“F**king cowards, don’t f**king snipe me, you f**king … k*ke bitch,” he said.
Meyers Leonard outed himself with this derogatory slur
The concern here isn’t just that Leonard used such a horribly offensive word on a live stream without even blinking, but also how he paused before deciding to use that particular word. Best-case scenario, it was on the tip of his tongue, he thought about holding back and then just decided to offend an entire group of people with a brazenly antisemitic slur anyway. Worst-case, he was just cycling through the chamber to find the right offensive word, settled on that one and pulled the trigger.
Either way, that kind of language is unacceptable, not just for an NBA player with a large platform, but for anyone. This is not a matter of being in the “heat of the moment” or Papa John’s ridiculous “I’m trying to get this word out of my vocabulary” excuse; it’s pretty clear from how flippantly Leonard fired that one off that he’s comfortable using that word. We’ve all said things we’ve regret; it’s just that, for most people, those things aren’t racial slurs, especially when as a grown, 29-year-old man playing a video game.
People know Leonard less for his actual accomplishments on the court than they do for his decision to stand during the national anthem during the NBA bubble while his Black teammates all chose to kneel in solidarity. His decision at the time was defended by many because of his relatives in the military and his public commitment to standing against “bigotry, racism and hate.”
It wasn’t anything against his Black teammates! He still loves and respects them, just like he loves and respects his country!
Unfortunately, this kind of hate speech — and how he paused to find the right derogatory word before unloading the clip — directly contradicts those lame defenses.
According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Heat are reviewing the video of Leonard’s antisemitic slur. Even if he wasn’t out for the season due to shoulder surgery, there’s no place in the league for that kind of language.
Stay tuned for the impending punishment and his subsequent Notes app apology in the next few hours.