NBA player Meyers Leonard spoke to a group of Jewish kids at Boca Raton Synagogue in Florida over the weekend, and he apologized for using an anti-Semitic slur during a live stream on Twitch back in March while playing the “Call of Duty” video game.
Leonard, who became emotional once he grabbed the microphone to address the group, started off by saying that he owes everybody “a sincere apology.”
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“I’ve had a lot of really good moments and some pretty dark emotional moments but I just like to say, again, I’m so, so thankful for the people in the Jewish community whether it’s a little kid, a teenager, a high schooler or a rabbi,” Leonard said via TMZ Sports.
Leonard added: “I’ve just been very educated, I’ve had so many events away from the public eye that have just uplifted not only myself, my wife, and our immediate family but my friends. I just learned so much and I’m so thankful through a very dark moment. Sometimes people say God works in mysterious ways.”
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg, who introduced Leonard to the group of kids, spoke highly of the NBA player.
Goldberg said that Leonard is a “great friend of the Jewish community.”
“Over the last 3 months, I’ve gotten to know Meyers off camera and off the court,” Goldberg said. “I’ve gotten to know what’s in his heart and who he is. Meyers has learned a lot about the Jewish community, meeting with Holocaust survivors, and reading books about Jewish history.”
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Leonard, who was a member of the Miami Heat at the time of the incident, had over 69,000 followers on Twitch, and over 550,000 between his Twitter and Instagram platforms. He apparently directed the slur to somebody else he was playing with during the live stream.
“F–king cowards. Don’t f–king snipe me. You f–king k–e b–ch,” Leonard said during the stream on March 9.
Leonard was blocked on Twitch, and the NBA suspended him for one week and fined him $50,000. One day after the suspension ended on March 17, Leonard was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 2027 second-round pick for Trevor Ariza. He was released by the Thunder eight days later and is currently a free agent.
Leonard spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers before joining Miami.