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'Hate is like a virus': Patriots' Edelman posts open letter to Heat's Leonard following anti-Semitic slur

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, who is Jewish, posted an open letter to the Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard on Instagram and Twitter

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above aired May 11, 2019.

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman posted an open letter to Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat Wednesday after Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur while playing a video game that was being livestreamed, prompting both the team and the NBA office to quickly open investigations into the matter.  

The video began circulating widely on social media Tuesday afternoon. 

Edelman, who is Jewish, posted the following open letter to Leonard on Instagram and Twitter:

"An open letter to Meyers Leonard

So we've never met, I hope we can one day soon. 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.

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. Hate is like a virus. Even accidentally, it can rapidly spread.

I'm down in Miami fairly often. Let's do a Shabbat dinner with some friends I'll show you a fun time.


The Heat, who were in the final day of their All-Star break and are not formally resuming practice until Wednesday, had no immediate comment. An NBA spokesman said the league “unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”

Leonard is in his second season with the Miami Heat. He was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2012 and spent seven years with the team before being traded to Miami in 2019.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above below May 11, 2019.

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