Meyers Leonard signs with Bucks two years after anti-Semitic slur, check out the details of his contract

Meyers Leonard, the 30-year-old free-agent big man, has signed a 10-day contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, nearly two years after he uttered an anti-Semitic slur. The Bucks had been monitoring Leonard for over a year, and he worked out for the team last month. Leonard had been out of the NBA since March 2021 and had not appeared in an NBA game since January 2021. Milwaukee had an open roster spot to fill, and Leonard was given an opportunity to make a comeback.

Leonard used a known anti-Semitic slur, “k–e,” while playing the popular video game “Call of Duty” during a live stream in March 2021. He addressed another player, calling him a “f–king k–e b—h.” The NBA suspended Leonard for ten days and fined him $50,000 for the slur, and he was dropped by multiple sponsors. Leonard claimed he did not know what the word meant and later apologized. He has been working hard since then to understand the impact of his comment and educate himself on the issue.

Leonard spent the first seven years of his career with the Trail Blazers, who selected him with the No. 11 pick out of Illinois in the 2012 draft. He played two seasons with the Heat and averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds a game in his nine seasons. After being dropped by the Heat, he did not find another NBA suitor. Leonard’s comeback attempt was delayed by shoulder and ankle rehab, and it wasn’t until earlier this season that he began to pursue NBA contracts again.

“There are absolutely no excuses for what happened that day,” Leonard said. “And ignorance, sadly, is a very real thing. I am not running from this, but I did not know that it happened. I felt like I had just destroyed my life and everything that I worked for, to be honest… People had every right to, I suppose, make assumptions about me. People were going to have to, in the media, comment on this. And I understand, I do.”

NBA spokesman Mike Bass recently issued a statement, stating that “since his use of a derogatory and unacceptable term in 2021, Meyers Leonard has been held accountable and has dedicated considerable time and effort to understand the impact of his comment. He has met with numerous leaders in the Jewish community and participated in community programs to educate himself and use his platform to share his learnings with others.” The Bucks are providing Leonard with a second chance, and it remains to be seen if he will make the most of it.

Urjoshyee Ushba

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