Meyers Leonard signing off a stream.

Online gaming events have led to some athletes getting in trouble for the language used on streams. In April, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was suspended for using the N-word on a racing stream (he has since returned to the sport, and won the Penzoil 400 in Las Vegas Sunday), and on Tuesday, Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard (previously featured in an April Washington Post piece about athletes known for their video game streaming) lost sponsors and faced disciplinary action over his use of an antisemetic (see the Anti-Defamation League’s spelling guide here) slur on a Call of Duty: Warzone stream. The slur Leonard uttered was k**e; video of that can be seen here.

As per Kevin Draper and Sopan Deb of The New York Times, that video appears to have been recorded Monday, but was publicized Tuesday. That led to Leonard suddenly signing off a different stream Tuesday with a “Be right back, I got to take a quick phone call” and then a “Yo, my wife needs me”: (screen

After that, Leonard deleted the Twitter post publicizing that stream, as well as many of his past Twitch gaming videos.

As many have noted, Leonard is a particularly significant figure to be caught using a slur considering his decision to stand for the national anthem in the 2020 NBA bubble, unlike all of his Heat teammates. He has said he stood because of his family’s military connections (his brother served in the Marines), and said “I STAND AGAINST bigotry, racism, and hate,” but that’s coming into some question after this slur usage. It is notable that Leonard apologized Tuesday night on Instagram, but with a weak “I didn’t know what that meant” apology:

And it’s also notable that Leonard’s apology came after his gaming sponsors ORIGINPC and SCUF Gaming both said they would “cease their working relationship” with him.  (They’re both owned by Corsair, which helps to explain the extremely similar statements.)

And FaZe Clan, the esports team Leonard invested in in 2019, said they were cutting ties with him:

That apology from Leonard also came after both the NBA and the Heat announced they were looking into his comments:

Update: Here’s the Heat statement:

We’ll see if this winds up leading to further disciplinary action from the Heat, the NBA, or both. At the very least, it’s led to Leonard (who is out for the 2020-21 NBA season following season-ending shoulder surgery in February) losing some sponsors.

[SB NationThe New York Times; top screengrab of Leonard’s departure from Tuesday’s stream via @bubbaprog]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.