Why Miami Heat’s Meyers Leonard was called ‘racist’ after Game 1 of NBA Finals

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Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard has been amongst the few NBA players to stand for the national anthem before games within the Orlando, Fla. bubble.

Leonard has made it clear that he stands for the anthem to show support for his brother who served two tours in Afghanistan as a member of the United States Marine Corps.

Leonard has also made it clear that he does not think kneeling is disrespectful and is a proud supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Still, his decision to stand for the anthem has garnered some unwanted attention on social media.

“After Game 1 of the NBA Finals, I was shocked to see that my name was trending on Twitter,” Leonard said as told by Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “Some of the things that I heard after Game 1 were very hurtful. People calling me a racist and countless other things. It’s unfortunate because I want everyone to like me. I know the reality is, that’s not going to happen.

“But when my character comes into question, when I’ve clearly done my best to show in many different ways, what I stand for, who I am, whether you want to believe me or not, it hurts. There are some people behind me who have said, ‘Look, leave this dude alone.’ And I’m very thankful for that. At the end of the day, I can’t make everyone happy or believe me, but I’m going to do my damn best.

“And I’ve done my best to say, ‘Look, if I can do anything to help people understand, it is to understand that you can be both.’”

Leonard is as thoughtful as they come, and this sentiment proves that very fact.

While Butler has spent the majority of the Heat’s incredible playoff run on the bench, he has seen the court during the 2020 NBA Finals due to injuries and the size of the Los Angeles Lakers lineup.

So far in the title round, Leonard is averaging 7.0 points per game.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Heat Nation.