Dan Verbin (A7) NBA forward Meyers Leonard will be one of the speakers at an upcoming online event discussing education to combat anti-Semitism following being harshly criticized earlier in the year for making anti-Semitic comments.
The former Miami heat player, who is now a free agent, will be a keynote at an August 19 virtual seminar hosted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) whose goal is to discuss how education “can be the key that unlocks our minds and inspires our souls to challenge bias in ourselves, others and society, ultimately creating a more just and equitable world.”
Meyers will be sharing knowledge he gained about anti-Semitism after he was caught using an anti-Semitic slur while playing an online video game in March. The athlete will discuss how he has now become a “champion of the need to have educators, students and parents involved in anti-Semitism education.”
In March, Leonard issued an apology after a social media video surfaced of him using the word “k**e” while playing a livestream game.
“I am deeply sorry for using an anti-Semitic slur during a livestream yesterday,” Leonard wrote in a statement posted to Instagram.
“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,” he said.
“I acknowledge and own my mistake and there’s no running from something like this that is so hurtful to someone else,” he added.
At the time, the NBA said it was “in the process of gathering more information” on the incident.
The incident was met with a backlash with the ADL criticizing Leonard for using the offensive word.
“We are shocked and disappointed to see Meyers Leonard use this ugly, offensive anti-Semitic slur. We have reached out to the Miami Heat and NBA about this and urge Mr. Leonard to issue an apology immediately for this egregious and hateful rhetoric,” ADL tweeted.
Other speakers at the ADL event will include Alysha Clark, two-time WNBA champion and former members of the Israeli women’s national basketball team who is a “strong education advocate against antisemitism,” and Melissa Mott, the director for Echoes & Reflections, a Holocaust education program developed in partnership with the ADL.