The popularity of athletes streaming on Twitch has exploded in recent years and especially in 2020 during the pandemic when they found themselves with lots of downtime. However, as we have seen on numerous occasions, streaming also opens the door for athletes and other famous people to say something that gets them into trouble.
Among the more recent examples was last year when NASCAR driver Kyle Larson lost his ride and all his sponsors when he said the N-word on an iRacing stream — he has since been brought back to NASCAR’s top series, which some have questioned if he’s proven he’s changed and understood what he did wrong. On Tuesday, Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard suddenly was trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons, after video emerged of him very casually dropping an anti-Semitic slur while streaming Call of Duty.
FaZe investor and member Meyers Leonard was streaming when he dropped an anti-Semitic slur. A comment from FaZe Clan likely coming soon. pic.twitter.com/cur2EIv0Nw
— Jake Lucky (@JakeSucky) March 9, 2021
Shortly after that video hit social media, Leonard took a phone call on his stream and said he had to go because his wife needed him, but it’s hard not to think that was him being told his use of a slur was all over Twitter and he needed to end his stream immediately.
It is an inexcusable thing to say, and one would expect a statement to come shortly from the Miami Heat and/or the NBA, as well as an apology from Leonard, but the damage here is done. As Jake Lucky notes, Leonard is also prominent in the eSports space as an investor and member of FaZe Clan.
UPDATE: The Miami Heat and NBA are both looking into the video and do not have an official statement at this time.
The Heat are reviewing video of center Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur earlier today while live-streaming his video-game play via Twitch, according to a team spokesman.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 9, 2021
NBA spokesman Mike Bass statement on Meyers Leonard, who said an anti-Semitic slur on a video game stream: “We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information. The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 9, 2021
FaZe Clan also released a statement and says it will cut all ties with Leonard.