Miami Heat center and FaZe Clan member Meyers Leonard apparently hates being sniped in Call of Duty: Warzone, so much so that he referred to a long-range online opponent as a “kike bitch” during a Twitch session Monday night.
Leonard picked up streaming this afternoon before being inundated with questions about the slur. He eventually cut the broadcast short to “hang” with his wife.
Drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012 before being traded to the Heat before the 2019 season, Leonard diversified during the covid-19 pandemic by joining the esports and online content creation organization FaZe Clan.
During his time with the NBA, Leonard drew criticism for another racially insensitive action. He was the only player to remain standing during an August 2020 game against the Denver Nuggets while both teams knelt in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to ESPN. Leonard said his decision came out of respect for the U.S. military and his brother, who is a Marine.
While supposedly a more progressive space than other sports, this isn’t the first controversy of its kind for the NBA. When NFL receiver Desean Jackson made his own antisemitic remarks last year, former NBA player Stephen Jackson publicly agreed with them before apologizing. The rest of the league was criticized for its silence on the matter.
Leonard has yet to address Monday night’s heated gamer moment.
UPDATE 7pm: FaZe Clan has issued the following statement:
UPDATE 2 7:30pm: Leonard has now issued an apology, saying he is “deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur” and somehow claiming that “I didn’t know what the word meant at the time”.
UPDATE 3 10:00pm: Leonard has since been dropped by two of his sponsors, and suspended by the Heat.