Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is speaking out after a U.S. sheriff deputy dropped a lawsuit against him following a shoving match at the 2019 NBA Finals.
“I am so lucky to have my beautiful, loving, supportive family,” Ujiri said in a statement on Monday. “I’m grateful to the Raptors players, staff and coaches for having my back…You all stood with me.”
Deputy Alan Strickland alleged in a lawsuit filed one year ago that he suffered injuries “which caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering” after a shoving match with Ujiri.
The incident occurred June 13, after the Raptors won the deciding Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. Ujiri went onto the court to join his celebrating team, when Strickland stopped him because the Raptors executive didn’t provide the proper on-court credential, leading to a shoving match that was partially captured on video.
Several bystanders intervened and Ujiri got onto the court without displaying any credentials.
Bodycam footage of the incident that was released appears to support the executive’s claim that Strickland shoved him twice despite Ujiri flashing what looks to be a card attached to his body.
Ujiri says he has decided his fight is no longer a legal one.
“Now the challenge is this: What can we do to stop another man or woman from finding themselves in front of a judge or behind bars because they committed no crime other than being Black?”
“That is the work that each one of us must commit to, every day,” he added.
The Toronto Raptors also shared a video of Ujiri dated August 2020 on their Instagram page, in which he stated “We have to make it better. We have to fight, and we have to stand up, and we have to speak.” He ended by saying “it comes down to human decency.”
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