Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Julian Edelman invites Meyers Leonard to Shabbat dinner after NBA player shouted anitsemitic slur

Julian Edelman, one of the most prominent Jewish professional athletes in America, spoke out on Wednesday after it was revealed that a player for the Miami Heat had used an antisemitic slur. “Hate is like a virus,” Edelman wrote in an open letter posted to his Twitter account. “Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread.”

The incident in question occurred when Meyers Leonard, a power forward for the Miami Heat, blurted out the a string of expletives – including “you f—-ing kike bitch” – while he was playing the video game “Call of Duty,” which he was broadcasting for the general public on the platform Twitch.

“So we’ve never met, I hope we can one day soon,” Edelman, a wide receiver for the New England Patriots, wrote in an open letter to Leonard on Wednesday. “I’m sure you’ve been getting lots of criticism for what you said. Not trying to add to that, I just want to offer some perspective.”

Edelman continued: “I get the sense that you didn’t use that word out of hate, more out of ignorance. Most likely, you weren’t trying to hurt anyone or even profile Jews in your comment. That’s what makes it so destructive. When someone intends to be hateful, it’s usually met with great resistance. Casual ignorance is harder to combat and has greater reach, especially when you command great influence.”

William Daroff, the CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, endorsed Edelman’s letter, writing on Twitter: “Thank you @Edelman11 for standing up, reaching out, and trying to make the world a better place, as you combat antisemitism in professional sports.”

The Anti-Defamation League tweeted that it was “shocked and disappointed” by Leonard’s slur and asked for an apology.

This is second time in as many weeks that the term “kike” was used by someone on a livestream. In late February, a School Committee member from Lowell, Massachusetts referred to a former administrator at the Lowell Public Schools as a “kike” during the broadcast of a cable access show he hosts. He has since resigned his position.

“The Miami Heat vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech,” the team wrote in a statement.

“The words used by Meyers Leonard were wrong and we will not tolerate hateful language from anyone associated with our franchise. To hear it from a Miami Heat player is especially disappointing and hurtful to all those who work here, as well as the larger South Florida, Miami Heat and NBA communities. Meyers Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely. The Miami Heat will cooperate with the NBA while it conducts its investigation.”

Edelman, who has traveled to Israel many times, ended his letter to Leonard with an invitation. “I’m down in Miami fairly often,” Edelman wrote. “Let’s do a Shabbat dinner some some friends. I’ll show you a fun time.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.