New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman wrote an open letter to Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard on Wednesday following Leonard's use of an anti-Semitic slur while playing a livestreamed video game.
"So we've never met, I hope we can one day soon," Edelman, who is Jewish, wrote. "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 said Tuesday night that Leonard will be away from the team indefinitely, sharply criticizing his use of an anti-Semitic slur.
Leonard apologized for using the term, insisting he did not know what it meant when he used it Monday. The Heat learned of the matter Tuesday, and Leonard's future with the team is now in serious doubt.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.