On Tuesday (March 9), Miami Heat star Meyers Leonard made headlines for using an anti-Semitic slur as he played Call of Duty during a Twitch livestream. The particular clip of him spewing the word “kike” among what appears to be an angry rant made its way around the internet and caught the attention of the Jewish community, gamers, the NBA and sports enthusiasts, including Shannon Sharpe — who didn’t seem to be surprised by the news.
Hours after the reports, the sports talk show host took to Twitter and responded to a user who mentioned him alongside an article about Leonard’s use of a slur.
“Not the guy that stood with hand over his heart while t[ea]mmates kneeled in protest of unarmed killings of Bl[ac]ks at the hands of police and inequality in America,” he said. “I know he wouldn’t do that.”
Sharpe’s comments refer to a particular instance during the NBA bubble when Leonard was the sole person to stand while his teammates and coaches kneeled in solidarity during the National Anthem. At the time, however, the Miami Heat player clarified that he only stood in support of the military.
“Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” Leonard previously told the Associated Press. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement, and I love and support the military and my brother, and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”
After the backlash regarding his use of an anti-Semitic slur, Leonard said he was sorry, noting he was unaware of its history and meaning to the Jewish community. Sharpe, however, believes the star’s admission was “a halfhearted, bulljive apology.” “Just apologize,” he explained on his “Skip and Shannon” talk show. “Make no excuses why you said it. You said it.”
Not the guy that stood with hand over his heart while tmmates kneeled in protest of unarmed killings of blks at the hands of police and inequality in America. I know he wouldn’t do that. https://t.co/ToTUriBkZp— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) March 9, 2021
Meyers Leonard gave a halfhearted, bulljive apology. pic.twitter.com/zi7in3H7iO— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) March 10, 2021