Jaylen Brown landed in controversy Sunday as the Boston Celtics star tweeted a message of support for those who showed up to back Kyrie Irving in his return from suspension.
The problem, however, was Brown did not initially realize those outside Barclays Center showing support for Irving actually were representatives of the Black Hebrew Israelite group “Israel United in Christ.” Israel United in Christ has been labeled as “an extreme and anti-Semitic sect of Black Hebrew Israelites” by the Anti-Defamation League.
Upon learning it was the aforementioned group, Brown tweeted he was unaware and expressed how he believed it to be a known fraternity. The Celtics wing further expressed his stance when speaking with reporters Monday after the team’s shootaround in Chicago.
“Yeah, I didn’t have my reading glasses on, I didn’t know who that group was,” Brown told reporters, per ESPN’s Jamal Collier. “But my instincts, when I first saw that video, is that I come from a community torn everyday by systemic representation and images of violence in our community. So when I saw that video it struck a chord for different reasons. I saw a large group of people from our community showing support for him (Irving) and his return. So me being proud of that support and being proud of our community for doing that does not mean I endorse or celebrate some of the things that were being done or being said. In my community, we just lost our icons and one of my neighborhood heroes in Takeoff from issues that I think stem from representations of violence in our communities.
“So my instincts when I saw that was, I didn’t notice what group it was, I just noticed the support. And that’s what I commented on,” Brown continued. “And I re-emphasize I don’t think that everything being said or done is something I endorse or represent. But in the future, when I’m a father, I’m not yet, I would like my son and daughter to see more representations of people of color, brown people and black people, standing together on issues rather than seeing images of violence in our media, in our music, in our moves that we don’t entirely promote or profit from. Those are my thoughts and I think any media group or person in attempt to discontort my words, or discontort my attempts to support someone clearly has an agenda. And those are my thoughts this morning.”
Brown had not deleted his tweet of “Energy” as of Monday at 2 p.m. ET. He told reporters he thought removing the tweet would be removing his support for Irving and his return, which he did not want to do.
“That was what my agenda was when I tweeted it,” Brown added, per MassLive. “I think anybody trying to discontort or misconstrue what my support was has a separate agenda at hand. That’s not what I was trying to do at all.”
Irving initially was suspended after posting a link to a film with anti-Semitic ideologies. The suspension proved to be eight games for Irving, who received support from Brown throughout.
Brown and the Celtics return to action Monday night against the Chicago Bulls.