In light of Miami Heat player Meyers Leonard using an anti-Semitic slur this week, Julian Edelman again used his platform to take a stand against hatred. As a Jewish man, Edelman has been a prominent voice against anti-Semitism, using his following to promote learning, understanding and compassion in the fight against hate in all forms.
On social media Wednesday, Edelman penned an open letter to Leonard, who has been suspended for a week from the Heat and fined $50,000 for saying an anti-Semitic slur while streaming on Twitch. Though Leonard claimed he didn't know what the word meant, Edelman said this kind of ignorance is even more dangerous.
"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 send 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. JE."
This isn't the first time Edelman has spoken up against the hatred Jewish people face. In July, he shared a video in light of DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic posts on Instagram.
As Edelman wrote, hate can spread quickly, but with people like himself standing up in the face of it, it can be combatted with education and respect.