Meyers Leonard’s coach and Miami Heat teammates offered no excuses Wednesday for Leonard’s use of an anti-Semitic slur during a recent video game livestream, nor did they make any effort to hide their disappointment in him in their first public comments about the incident.
“He said something that was extremely distasteful and hurtful,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And we’re left with the aftermath of that.”
In a video that surfaced Tuesday on social media, Leonard can be heard saying: “F—ing cowards; don’t f—ing snipe me, you f—ing k— b—-.” Leonard apologized in an Instagram post, and he will be away from the Heat indefinitely, according to the organization, while the NBA conducts an investigation.
Leonard’s season was already over because of a shoulder injury.
“There are consequences to words,” Spoelstra said. “And those were extremely hurtful words.”
The Heat went back to work Wednesday to end their All-Star break. The team opens its second-half schedule Thursday against Orlando. Spoelstra has spoken with Leonard, as have other team officials.
“We can’t tolerate that here,” Heat captain and 18-year veteran Udonis Haslem said of the usage of the slur. “Right is right, and wrong is wrong. And since I’ve been here in this organization, to the day I leave this organization and beyond, we’re going to try to be on the right side of everything — especially issues like this.”
Haslem was asked if Leonard ever used language around him that was offensive.
“No, sir,” Haslem said. “I’ve never heard him use any language that made me uncomfortable at all.”
Spoelstra has offered high praise for Leonard’s work ethic and effort many times during the 7-foot center’s year and a half with the team.
Those days seem long ago now.
“It doesn’t matter the intent,” Spoelstra said. “It’s just not right.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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