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Julian Edelman sends open letter to Meyers Leonard: 'Hate is like a virus'

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New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman reached out to Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard after Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur Tuesday.

In an open letter, Edelman explained why Meyers' language is dangerous and hurtful. Edelman also invited Meyers to a Shabbat dinner the next time Edelman is in Miami.

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Edelman's letter read:

"An open letter to Meyers Leonard

"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 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.

"JE"

Edelman did a similar thing when Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson posted an anti-Semitic message on social media. Edelman denounced anti-Semitism, and invited Jackson to visit the Holocaust Museum.

Meyers Leonard will stay away from Heat indefinitely

The Heat released a statement Tuesday, saying Leonard would be away from the team while the NBA investigates the incident. Leonard used an anti-Semitic slur directed at Jewish people while appearing on a live stream on his Twitch channel.

Leonard later released a statement saying he did not know what the word meant.

The NBA is in the process of gathering information. While it does so, Leonard will be away from the Heat. In the team's statement, the Heat said it "vehemently condemns the use of any form of hate speech." The team called Leonard's speech "disappointing and hurtful."

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