Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been fined $50,000, suspended from the team’s facilities and banned from team activities for a week for the anti-Semitic slur he made while playing video games Monday.
Leonard will also be required to participate in a cultural diversity program.
“Meyers Leonard’s comment was inexcusable and hurtful and such an offensive term has no place in the NBA or in our society,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
In a video that began circulating on social media Tuesday, Leonard can be heard saying: “F—ing cowards; don’t f—ing snipe me, you f—ing k— b—-.”
By Tuesday evening, the Heat had announced Leonard would be away from the team indefinitely and the center issued an apology in an Instagram post, writing in part, “I promise to do better and know that my future actions will be more powerful than my use of this word.”
Silver said that on Wednesday, Leonard spoke with the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that was founded to fight anti-Semitism. Leonard’s mandatory cultural diversity program is a multisession course that provides cultural, racial and sensitivity training.
“We accept that he is genuinely remorseful,” Silver continued in a statement. “We have further communicated to Meyers that derogatory comments like this will not be tolerated and he will be expected to uphold the core values of our league — equality, tolerance, inclusion and respect — at all times moving forward.”
Silver, appearing on ESPN’s Greeny, told host Mike Greenberg that Leonard met voluntarily with the ADL. He also said the $50,000 fine was the maximum amount he can fine a player for that kind of act.
“I accept his word that he didn’t understand the import of what he was saying, and he’s paying a price for it,” he said.
The Heat released a statement on Thursday night, saying in part: “While we remain hurt and disappointed by what he said, we are encouraged that Meyers has started to take the necessary steps to educate himself about why his comments were so offensive. We will continue to communicate with Meyers and his representatives while he remains away from the team.”
The suspension does not include loss of pay for games missed because Leonard is currently injured, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. He appeared in only three games for the Heat this year and was diagnosed with a season-ending shoulder injury in January. He will still be compensated for the five games the Heat play during his suspension. If he had been healthy, Leonard would have faced forfeiting $324,000.
Leonard could become a free agent this summer; the Heat hold a team option on him for next season worth about $10 million.