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Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard has been fined $50,000 and suspended from all Heat facilities and team activities for one week after he uttered an anti-Semitic slur while livestreaming his gameplay.
The NBA announced Leonard will also be required to participate in a cultural diversity program.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and that such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in society.
“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,” Silver said. “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.”
A few hours after the video surfaced on Twitter, Leonard released a statement, apologizing for his use of the derogatory slur.
“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.”
The Heat said in a statement Tuesday that Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely, while the NBA conducted its investigation.
On Wednesday, the team said he had been issued the league’s maximum allowable fine of $50,000.
The Heat said they will “continue to communicate with Meyers and his representatives while he remains away from the team” about his why his comments were so offensive.
“He said something that was extremely distasteful and hurtful,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we’re left with the aftermath of that.”
Leonard was already sidelined for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.