Former Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has posted and update on his official Instagram page, ending a five-month silence, discussing his work in attempting to educate himself in the Jewish community.
Leonard used an anti-semitic slur during one of his live Twitch steams earlier this year, which led to the Heat traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder and immediately released. Leonard was also fined $50,000 by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“Over the last five months, I have immersed myself in the process of learning about the Jewish community” Leonard wrote in the post. “This was not something prescribed or forced upon me. It’s something that I felt and knew in my heart was right to do, which is why, I chose to do it privately.
Having the ability to learn about one another is not a form of punishment, it is a gift. Our differences aren’t what divide us, it’s our lack of understanding that does.
I’ve been very fortunate to have had so many real and honest conversations with Jewish friends and leaders about the beliefs, history, and challenges faced and still facing the Jewish community. Listening to the first-hand experiences of how antisemitic views and actions have been weaponized over and over again throughout history and still persist today is troubling. I’m committed to being an ally.
A true mistake and extreme ignorance is how this all began for me, but growing from this is a part of the journey. Again, I’d like to say how truly sorry I am to those who were hurt by my word. I take full ownership of my ignorance and will continue to do better through my actions. I’d also like to say how grateful I am for all of the love, compassion, and forgiveness that the Jewish community has graciously shown me. To the ADL, thank you for working with me over this time and allowing me an opportunity to use my words as part of the solution on your “Fighting Hate From Home” panel today. To Rabbi Pinny, Rabbi Goldberg, Steve Stowe, Matthew Hiltzik & Michael Goldberg, MBJCC and the countless others who have spent hours and hours over Shabbat dinners, lunch, phone calls and time in each other’s homes – THANK YOU. It’s with your grace that I know my future actions will always be louder than this one incident.”