Meyers Leonard, an NBA player, made an anti-semitic remark on a Call of Duty: Warzone Twitch stream the other day, and his sponsors and FaZe Clan have since distanced themselves from him. Meyers Leonard has been suspended by his team, the Miami Heat, and the NBA is reportedly investigating the incident.
Meyers Leonard has also “apologized” for the affair, saying that he didn’t understand the word. This seems impossible, considering that he seems to pause before spouting the word on his Twitch stream. It came off as more of an effort to salvage some positive PR, but it just helped to make things harder for him.
This is one of the examples of people failing to recognize the strength of their language, such as when a FIFA player verbally assaulted real-life player Ian Wright after losing a video game match using the player’s virtual counterpart.
A statement from FaZe Clan. pic.twitter.com/ePo1NGEaN5
— FaZe Clan (@FaZeClan) March 9, 2021
Meyers Leonard has seen a major decrease in sponsorships as a result of the Warzone stream, including Origin, Astro Gaming, and Scuf. Despite not sponsoring Leonard, the famous eSports clan FaZe Clan has also announced that it will part ways with him. It’s likely that the two sides can no longer cooperate on games or content.
Meyers Leonard’s case isn’t the first time a famous person makes an anti-Semitic joke and loses a lot of money as a result. PewDiePie faced a similar scenario in 2017, where he was expelled from a Disney-owned corporation for abusive conduct. Despite the fact that the YouTuber is still doing well, it was a particularly contested time of his career that has hung over him for years and turned many people against him.
Meyers Leonard’s return to the NBA is uncertain at this point. It’s entirely probable that his remark’s bluntness would result in his permanent dismissal from the game. The player isn’t a minor league either; he stands a towering 7 foot tall and had to start two games for the Miami Heat in the 2020 NBA Finals.
— ASTRO Gaming (@ASTROGaming) March 10, 2021
The ADL, for example, has drawn parallels between bigotry and gaming. With Leonard’s clout and celebrity, it’s risky for him to be spouting anti-semitic language that younger kids might pick up on privately.
Leonard has been chastised in the past for kneeling for the national anthem as his teammates and the Denver Nuggets kneeled in favor of the Black Lives Matter campaign. He was the only one who stood, and he said that he did so out of love for the US military since his brother is a marine.