NBA player Meyers Leonard, a center for the Miami Heat, made productive use of the COVID-19 pandemic by becoming a streamer and joining the popular FaZe Clan. He's now got over 69,000 followers on Twitch, and partnerships with brands who make controllers, headsets, PCs, and protein bars. You'd think all that might make him think twice about shouting an antisemitic slur while playing Call of Duty: Warzone, but apparently not.
"F—ing cowards, don't f—ing snipe me, you f—ing k— bitch," said Leonard, as his teammate in voice chat laughed in response.
Though the broadcast has since been deleted from Leonard's channel, the relevant segment was captured and uploaded to YouTube and has also done the rounds on Twitter. Which is why, when Leonard returned to streaming Warzone a day later, his chat quickly became flooded with comments about it. Most were deleted by moderators before the chat was switched to emote-only mode. The stream was then cut short when Leonard received a phone call, and disconnected from the match. "Chat, something came up," he told his viewers. "I gotta, um, go hang with my wife. Um, I will talk to you guys later."
Since this story was originally published, Leonard has released a statement apologizing for the slur and saying, "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".
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard releases statement apologizing for saying anti-Semitic slur on a livestream: pic.twitter.com/AOi7ZE6nCyMarch 10, 2021
This isn't the first time Leonard's caused controversy. During an NBA game in 2020, he remained standing while the other players on his team and their opponents, the Denver Nuggets, all knelt in a show of solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
It also isn't a first for FaZe Clan, who one year ago suspended Daniel "Dubs" Walsh for broadcasting a racist slur during a Fortnite stream, and made all their members undergo sensitivity training. He subsequently apologized, and has since rejoined the organization.