Julian Edelman offered to meet with Meyers Leonard after the Miami Heat center was heard uttering an anti-Semitic slur during a “Call of Duty” livestream on Twitch.
Edelman, who is Jewish, wrote an open letter to Leonard on social media.
“So we’ve never met, I hope that we can one day soon. I’m sure you’ve been getting lots of criticism for what you said. Not trying to add to that, I just want to offer some perspective,” the New England Patriots wide receiver wrote.
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“I get the sense that you didn’t use that word out of hate, more out of ignorance. Most likely, you weren’t trying to hurt anyone or even profile Jews in your comment. That’s what it makes it so destructive. When someone intends to be hateful, it’s usually met with great resistance. Casual ignorance is harder to combat and has greater reach, especially when you command great influence. Hate is like a virus. Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread.
“I’m down in Miami fairly often. Let’s do a Shabbat dinner with some friends I’ll show you a fun time.”
Leonard came under immediate scrutiny as his words circulated in social media videos. He apparently directed the slur to somebody else he was playing with during the livestream. At the time, he had over 69,000 followers on Twitch, and over 550,000 between his Twitter and Instagram platforms.
MEYERS LEONARD ‘AWAY’ FROM HEAT INDEFINITELY AFTER USING ANTI-SEMITIC SLUR DURING LIVESTREAM
“F–king cowards. Don’t f–king snipe me. You f–king k–e b–ch,” Leonard said during the stream.
The Heat said he would be “away” indefinitely as the NBA investigates.
Leonard claimed in his apology note that he did not know what the word meant at the time.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” Leonard said in a statement. “While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong.
“I am now more aware of its meaning and I am committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about this type of hate and how we can fight it. I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else.
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“This is not a proper representation of who I am and I want to apologize to the Arisons, my teammates, coaches front office, and everyone associated with the Miami Heat organization, to my family to our loyal fans and to others in the Jewish community who I have hurt. I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Edelman also offered to meet with DeSean Jackson when the former Philadelphia Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson was under scrutiny for his own anti-Semitic comments.