Updated as of 11/22/2022 at 10:00 a.m. ET:
Ahem, even some of the world’s greatest and most talented athletes get confused. On Sunday, the Brooklyn Nets announced that their controversial star guard Kyrie Irving would be available against the Nets. Although he didn’t play, a large group of Black Hebrew Israelites showed up outside Barclays Center in support of Irving.
Considering the mess Kyrie Irving has put himself in for the past month, I was not surprised a group like this showed up for Irving. What did surprise me is when Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown seemingly showed support for the group on Twitter. In a post responding to a video showing the group outside the arena, Brown wrote, “Energy.”
It’s not shocking that Brown tweeted in support of Irving, he’s been doing that ever since he was suspended. What is shocking is that he tweeted in support of a group that seemingly agrees with antisemitic tropes, such as the many ones stated in the documentary Irving posted, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.
But, Brown later clarified his tweet, claiming that he confused the Black Hebrew Israelites for members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. In a tweet, Brown wrote, “I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight. I was celebrating the unification of our people welcoming the return of Kyrie to the court, first glance I thought it was a known fraternity the (C/Que’s) Omega psi phi (step’n) showing support.”
I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight. I was celebrating the unification of our people welcoming the return of Kyrie to the court, first glance I thought it was a known fraternity the (C/Que’s) Omega psi phi (step’n) showing support
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) November 21, 2022
On Monday, ahead of the Celtics’ matchup against the Chicago Bulls, Brown was asked about the situation and said, “My instincts when I first saw that video was that I come from a community torn every day by systemic representation and images of violence in our communities. When I saw that video it struck a cord for different reasons.
Brown continued, “I saw a large group of people from our community showing support for him and his return. Me being proud of that support does not mean I endorse or celebrate some of the things that were being done or being said.”
Celtics Jaylen Brown on his tweets from last night.
“I saw a large group of people from our community showing support for (Kyrie) and his return. Me being proud of that support does not mean I endorse or celebrate some of the things that were being done or being said” pic.twitter.com/xGYb2L6bay
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) November 21, 2022
Brown also said, “When I’m a father I would like my son and daughter to see more people of color standing together on issues rather than seeing images of violence in our media, in our music, in our movies that we don’t entirely promote or profit from. I think that any media group or person, in an attempt to “discontort” my attempts to support someone clearly has an agenda.”
First of all, “discontort is not a word. I think you meant “contort” or “distort.” Secondly, I don’t think anyone is trying to “distort” your attempt to support Kyrie. I think everyone just wanted clarification on why you seemingly showed support for a group, the Black Hebrew Israelites, that is known for being hateful and antisemitic toward Jewish people.
Honestly, all Brown had to say was, “I thought those were Ques because of the colors they were wearing, my mistake.” The soliloquy was unnecessary.
Unless Brown wants to get caught up in the same mess Irving did, I think he should’ve vehemently denied any affiliation or sympathy with the group that was outside Barclays on Sunday night. That’s what Irving did not do when it came to the documentary he tweeted out, and it got him in trouble.
As a fellow vice president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and former teammate of Irving, Brown has been vocal about the suspension handed down by the Nets and the NBA and has been openly critical.
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