Jaylen Brown has been vocal in his support of former teammate Kyrie Irving throughout Irving’s suspension for sharing an antisemitic film on his Twitter account.
While saying he didn’t condone what was in the video and acknowledging that Irving “made a mistake,” Brown said he doesn’t believe Irving is antisemitic, criticized his punishment as too harsh, and publicly called out Nets owner Joe Tsai and Nike for their responses.
On Sunday, just as the whole situation seemed to be dying down with Irving’s suspension coming to an end, Brown reignited some controversy with an ill-advised tweet of his own.
Brown retweeted a video of a group that was lined up outside Brooklyn’s Barclays Center in support of Irving and commented, “Energy.”
The problem is that group was Israel United in Christ, a branch of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that the Anti-Defamation League classifies as an “extremist faction” that “embraces and promotes extremist, racist, antisemitic, homophobic and sexist elements of BHI ideology.” Israel United in Christ promotes the idea that they, not Jewish people, are the real “Children of Israel,” and some of their leaders have called Jews “the devil.”
After facing significant backlash, Brown clarified that he “was not aware of what specific group that was outside of Barclay’s Center” and that he had mistaken them for the historically Black fraternity Omega Psi Phi. He then tweeted photos of that fraternity, showing their similar purple and gold color scheme.
As of Monday morning, Brown has not deleted the initial tweet.
You can debate whether Brown deserves the benefit of the doubt or not, but it’s worth noting that plenty of Twitter users had already pointed out who the group was before Brown retweeted the video. At the very least, he made one of the same mistakes Irving made: tweeting something without fully understanding the context or the impact it would have.
Brown has obviously done a lot of admirable work to combat racism in recent years, but this is now the second time this season he’s had to backtrack after a misstep. In October, he initially stuck with Donda Sports during Kanye West’s antisemitic meltdown before ultimately reversing course and cutting ties.