Julian Edelman is offering to break bread with Meyers Leonard in wake of the Heat center uttering an anti-Semitic slur.
Edelman, the Patriots wide receiver who is Jewish, posted an open letter to Leonard through his social media accounts offering some insight on why his comment was “destructive,” while also inviting him to a Shabbat dinner.
“So we’ve never met, I hope we can one day soon,” Edelman 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.”
Leonard, who made the comment on a Twitch stream while playing a video game on Monday, is currently away from the Heat “indefinitely,” the team said Tuesday. The 29-year-old also issued an apology.
“While I didn’t know what the word meant at the time, my ignorance about its history and how offensive it is to the Jewish community is absolutely not an excuse and I was just wrong,” Leonard said in a statement. “I am now more aware of its meaning and I am committed to properly seeking out people who can help educate me about this type of hate and how we can fight it.”
Edelman may be one of those people who can help, and it wouldn’t be the first time the three-time Super Bowl champ has made such an offer. After Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted anti-Semitic quotes to social media last year, Edelman invited him to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Edelman later said he spoke with Jackson and they planned “to use our experiences to educate one another and grow together.”