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Meyers Leonard is an NBA center and power forward who played for the Miami Heat. He has also recently taken up live-streaming video games on the streaming platform Twitch. This, however, has proven to be a mistake as in a livestream on Wednesday he was seen saying ki–, which is a highly offensive anti Semitic slur. In the Clío in question, Leonard can be seen playing Call Of Duty: Warzone. He shoots at an opposing player and says “What do you think of that you f— ki–.” He continued playing as if nothing happened, and didn’t know he had done anything wrong until his live chat called him out on it.
Since this incident, Leonard has come out to publicly apologize, saying he wasn’t aware of the significance of the word and it was said out of ignorance, not hate. Other athletes such as Julian Edelman have come out to say that they didn’t think he is anti Semitic and just needs to be educated. Many people also feel he needs to be totally removed from the NBA. This, however, would also be on top of a $50,000 fine and release from the Miami Heat.
The Heat have also released a statement saying that the kind of speech used in Leonard’s live stream will not be tolerated within their organization. He has been released by the Heat and indefinitely suspended from all of their facilities. Frederick student Rylan Cram says, “He shouldn’t be getting this much hate but he needs to learn that it isn’t ok to say things like that especially when you’re as influential as he is.”
Another Frederick student, Joseph Villani, says “I think it’s crazy that he would say that but it’s just a word and I don’t think he should get in trouble for saying it.” He says that he doesn’t even know what the word means and it can’t be that significant if he doesn’t know what it means.
This controversy also comes amid a rise in hate crimes against Jews and Asian Americans. This is another part of the reason Leonard is getting such a hard lash back for saying this word. However, it is just about the worst thing you can call a Jewish person. This word originated in Nazi Concentration camps where over 6 million Jews were killed during World War II. The Nazi soldiers used this word to refer to Jews who they believed were beneath them.