JTA — Meyers Leonard of the NBA’s Miami Heat said the anti-Semitic slur “kike” while playing a video game on the Twitch streaming platform, which allows gamers to talk to each other.
“Don’t f***ing snipe me, you f***ing kike bitch,” Leonard, 29, said while playing the game “Call of Duty,” as shown in a video clip posted Tuesday by the @MainTeamSports Twitter account.
Leonard, a 7-foot-1 center and former first-round draft pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, apologized for the slur on Tuesday.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday. 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,” he wrote on Instagram.
He apologized to those “in the Jewish community who I have hurt.”
Meyers Leonard says racial slurs while playing CoD pic.twitter.com/WHwUnbV0pR
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) March 9, 2021
Last year, in the wake of the George Floyd racial justice protest movement, Leonard was criticized for being one of only two players throughout the league to stand rather than kneel during the playing of the national anthem before games.
He told his Black teammates that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and that he was standing to honor his brother, who served as a Marine.
In a sign of solidarity with him, a Black teammate always put an arm around Leonard’s leg during the anthem.