Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown said he made an error in supporting a tweet that showed a Black Hebrew Israelite group standing in solidarity outside Barclays Center before Kyrie Irving’s return from suspension.
Brown, who like Irving is a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, quoted-tweeted a video of a large contingent from the group Israel United in Christ lined up alongside the arena prior to Brooklyn’s 127-115 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
Brown wrote “Energy” before waking back the remarks hours later.
The Celtics star claimed he had mistaken the group for the historically African-American fraternity Omega Psi Phi and tweeted photos of the frat to show the similarities of their outfits.
Brown has been vocal in his opposition to Irving’s suspension. He called it “alarming” that Nets owner Joe Tsai said on Nov. 15 that his star guard “still has work to do” before being reinstated because the billionaire “didn’t say that the organization was working together to get Kyrie back.”
Black Hebrew Israelites believe they — and not Jewish people — are the “Children of Israel.” Israel United in Christ sang and handed out flyers outside the arena.
“I was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center tonight,” Brown wrote. “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.”
Sunday marked Irving’s return from an eight-game suspension after failing — at first — to deliver an acceptable apology after promoting an anti-Semitic movie on social media. The Nets issued a list of remedial tasks Irving had to complete, including meeting with Jewish leaders, before being reinstated to the lineup. He has issued numerous more apologies since his suspension, including one Sunday morning flanked by Nets general manager Sean Marks, agent Riley Irving (also his stepmother) and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio. Irving, who scored 14 points in Sunday’s win, told reporters prior to the game he was unaware of the group and its gathering.
“I didn’t see it. There was a group outside?” Irving said. “I think that’s a conversation for another day. Just want to focus on ball … I’m just here to focus on the game.”
The Black Hebrew Israelite group has been showing support for Irving throughout the process. They peacefully protested his suspension outside Barclays Center on Nov. 9.
“It’s ridiculous to have him go through all these conditions just because he shared something,” Deacon Eythan of the Israel United in Christ — who placed blame on Amazon, too, for hosting the movie — said at the time. “There’s certain content in there that may be found to be offensive, but if he found some truth in [the movie], there shouldn’t be a problem.”