Meyers Leonard, a reserve center for the Miami Heat, will be “away from the team indefinitely”, the team said Tuesday night, when he was playing a video game on an anti-lifestyle, following the use of an anti-Semitic abuses .
“The Miami Hyatt strongly condemns the use of profane language,” the team said in a statement. “The words used by Meyers Leonard were incorrect and we will not tolerate hate speech from anyone associated with our franchise. Hearing this from a Miami Heat player is especially disappointing and sad for everyone who works here, as well as the larger Florida, Miami Heat and NBA communities. “
29-year-old Leonard was playing “Call of Duty: Warzone”, a popular multiplayer video game on Twitch, a livestreaming platform populated by most gamers.
Leonard said that Slayer, after a sexist obscenity, called another player a “coward” for how he tried to kill his character in the game. The video was recorded on Monday, but did not receive widespread attention until Tuesday, after Leonard’s clip of the slur was posted on social media. By noon, it was the top trending topic on Twitter in the United States.
As Leonard stated that the slur was rotating, Leonard was presenting a separate season of “Twitter of Duty: Warzone”, an event he promoted on his Twitter account on Tuesday, which has more than 177,000 followers. . Live chat on that stream began to fill up with comments about Slur, and Leonard ended his hasty involvement after receiving a phone call.
“My wife needs me. He just called. I’ve got the role, brother, ” Leonard said As he signed off.
The post was soon deleted by Twitter advertising their livestream, as they had many previous videos of gaming on Twitch. Leonard’s words were soon condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, which Written in a statement Seeing “Surprised and disappointed, @MeyersLeonard used this ugly, insulting #antisemor slur. We’ve reached out to @M Miami HEAT and @NBA about this and immediately apologized to Mr. Leonard for this arrogant and disgusting rhetoric. Urge. “
Leonard apologized on Tuesday night The statement posted on Instagram, Writing that he was “deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic insult during a livestream yesterday.” He claimed not to know what the word he used meant, but said that his “ignorance about his history and how disrespectful it is to the Jewish community is not an excuse at all and I’m just was wrong.”
It is not yet known if any discipline, if any, will be met by Leonard NBA Mike Bais, an NBA spokesman said in an afternoon statement: “We are just exposed to the video and are in the process of gathering more information.” . The NBA condemns all types of hate speech. “The Heat said they would cooperate in the NBA’s investigation.
Leonard is a big fan of video games. In 2019 he Investment In the Phase Clan, a popular e-sports team, That writing He was “excited to be a part of the premier organization in the space and continues to build his brand in the world of gaming / esports.”
But that brand was undeniably clouded on Tuesday. Leonard’s channel was suspended by Twitch – “We do not allow twitches to act disgustingly,” the company said in a statement – and was denied by several gaming companies affiliated with Leonard.
in a statement Posted on twitter, The Fezze clan stated that it was “incredibly disappointed to hear Meyers’ stream” and that “while Meyers is not a member of Fez, we are cutting ties with him.” A spokesman for the Fez clan did not respond to an email, asking what the relationship was with Leonard and whether the Fez Klan was returning its investment.
The three gaming companies that sponsored Leonard, and his logo appeared on the stream where he used Gaara, cut ties with him.
Original PC and Scoof Gaming, which both own computer hardware company Corseyer, issued similar statements on Tuesday in which they said they had “decided to end our work relationship with Meyers.” Astro Gaming, whose gaming headset Leonard was offering as promotions on its Twitch channel, said This was ending his relationship with her “effective immediately”.
The 2012 first-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, Leonard is in his ninth NBA season, but appeared in only three games in the campaign. He is expected for the rest of the season after having a shoulder operation last month. Last season, Leonard started 49 games for the Heat, averaging 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game as the team advanced to the finals.
He gained attention last summer for one of the few players in the NBA who refused to kneel while playing the national anthem, in protest of racial injustice, when the league resumed the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World . Leonard, who is white, said he supported the Black Lives Matter movement and did not see kneeling as disrespectful, but also wanted to honor his brother, Who served in the army.
Leonard is being paid About $ 9.4 million this season. The Heat have the option of whether to extend their contract for the next season.
Online video game streaming – and its rapidly expanding audience – has turned gamers into celebrities, but has also become a site of controversy. The audio and text chat functions in many video games are notorious for their frequent pronunciation of slurs and a culture in which gamers would say anything to get a response. In 2017, Felix Kjellberg, a popular video gamer known as PewDiePie who currently has more than 109 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, was ousted by Disney after several mainstream sponsors Reported That he used anti-Semitic abuses in at least nine videos.
Later that year, while using a game he used a different abuse, the phrase “hot gaming moment”. Entered the lexicon As an excuse to use abusive language when livestreaming video games.
Celebrities, and especially athletes such as Phoenix Sun Guard Devin Booker and San Diego Padres pitcher Blake Snell, have been attracted to livestreaming video games. But some are also in trouble for what they have said. last spring, Kyle LarsenA popular driver of NASCAR, was dismissed from his team and suspended by the organization after using a racial slur during a live Of a virtual race.
Mark stein Contributed to reporting.