Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith had varying degrees of disdain for Meyers Leonard for his streaming incident.
Leonard has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late. The NBA has fined him $50,000 for his comments. Pat Riley and his Miami Heat have suspended the 7-footer for a week without pay.
Even so, many people feel that Meyers got off relatively scot-free for using this slur. They have been comparing it to the usage of the N-word, emphasizing how he might have been out of the league if this was the case.
The Inside crew used today’s show as a platform to discuss this whole hoopla.
Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith react to the Meyers Leonard affair
Shaquille O’Neal has the inside scoop on how the Miami front office would have reacted to the situation:
“In an organization like the Miami Heat, which I played for, this is something they don’t really tolerate,” O’Neal said. “They’re going to have to believe that he was really sorry.”
“He made a mistake. But we professional athletes, we have to realize that we’re held to higher standards. We’re watched 24/7. People like to quote us, misquote us, and we have to say the right thing, do the right thing, and we have to lead by example.”
Kenny Smith was even harsher on Leonard, and for the right reasons:
“You don’t have to be careful. You just have to educate yourself. Like, that was ridiculous. I don’t want him to be careful. I want him to realize what he’s saying or what he tried to be careful of saying is not tolerated.”
Charles Barkley had a far more benevolent approach than either Kenny or Shaq took on the issue. He has always been more of the forgiving kind of guy, and it showed in this instance.
“I like Meyers Leonard. He said something that was really stupid. He made a huge mistake. We live in a society today, they call it the cancel culture. When everybody says something stupid or dumb, we want to end their life. I’m not a big believer in that.”
“Stuff that we and I have said in the locker room when I played, we can’t say that stuff anymore.”