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Jewish Wizards rookie Deni Avdija on Meyers Leonard: ‘I know he’s a good dude’

Wizards rookie Deni Avdija vs. Heat

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 3: Deni Avdija #9 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball during the game against the Miami Heat on February 3, 2021 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Meyers Leonard said an anti-Semitic slur, claimed he didn’t understand the term, apologized, then got fined and suspended.

The next step in the news cycle?

Asking the NBA’s only avowed Jewish player to comment.

Wizards rookie Deni Avdija, via Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“Listen, I don’t really want to get into those kinds of things. But I think Meyers didn’t have those kinds of intentions,” Avdija said.

“I think he did a mistake, we know that. We don’t accept those words. But I know he’s a good dude and he didn’t mean to do that. Hopefully, he understood the mistake.”

Avdija didn’t explain how he knows Leonard, or how he knows Leonard well enough to say, “I know he’s a good dude and he didn’t mean to do that.”

I feel for Avdija, who’s trying to find his way in the league and is getting pulled into a controversy created solely by Leonard. Avdija’s perspective is worth seeking.

Hopefully, Avdija is correct that Leonard spoke out of ignorance rather than bigotry and is a good person. But it’s on Leonard – since traded from the Heat to the Thunder – to prove that and learn from his misdeed.