UPDATED 8/20, 4:20 p.m. ET: The Toronto Raptors posted Masai Ujiri's official statement on Instagram.
"Thank you to everybody who has expressed disappointment and concern regarding the video that was recently released," the statement reads. "My family and I are deeply grateful for your care and consideration. The video sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer last year in the midst of my team, the Toronto Raptors, winning its first world championship. It was an exhilarating moment of achievement for our organization, for our players, for our city, for our country, and for me personally, given my long-tenured professional journey in the NBA."
Ujiri then took aim at the officer who shoved him, saying that the only reason he was assaulted was because of the color of his skin. He also pointed to his privilege as the only reason that he received justice.
"What saddens me most about this ordeal is that the only reason why I am getting the justice I deserve in this moment is because of my success," he explained. "Because I’m the President of a NBA team, I had access to resources that ensured I could demand and fight for my justice. So many of my brothers and sisters haven’t had, don’t have, and won’t have the same access to resources that assured my justice. And that’s why Black Lives Matter. And that’s why it’s important for all of us to keep demanding justice. Justice for George. Justice for Breonna. Justice for Elijah. Justice for far too many Black lives that mattered. And justice for Black people around the world, who need our voice and our compassion to save their lives. Those are the ties that bind us."
See original story below.
Body cam footage of the Oracle Arena incident between Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri and Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland at Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals has been released, KTVU FOX 2 reports.
After the game ended, with the Raptors winning the NBA championship against the Golden State Warriors, Ujiri began to make his way to the court to celebrate with his team. It was then that, as can be seen in the video footage below, Ujiri was physically blocked by Strickland and shoved twice.
Attorneys representing Ujiri said that the clip illustrates that Strickland was "undeniably the initial aggressor."
Masai Ujiri's legal team has released body camera footage of his encounter with a security worker at Oracle Arena after the Raptors won the NBA championship. pic.twitter.com/56XWMpZy0P— Diamond Leung (@diamond83) August 19, 2020
A spokesperson for the Raptors organization released a statement following the release of the footage and wrote that the allegations against Ujiri were "baseless and entirely without merit." The spokesperson continued, "We believe this video evidence shows exactly that—Masai was not an aggressor, but instead was the recipient of two very violent, unwarranted actions."
Raptors spokesperson on release of video footage involving team president Masai Ujiri and a Bay Area police officer in moments after end of 2019 NBA Finals: pic.twitter.com/sPq6y1tbw5— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 19, 2020
Following the incident, which took place on June 13, 2019, Strickland filed a federal lawsuit in February, claiming he suffered multiple injuries from Ujiri shoving him. The Raptors, Maple Leaf Entertainment, and the NBA were also named in the lawsuit. Strickland, who was previously arrested and convicted on fraud charges, also alleged that Ujiri had a "violent predisposition."
"Mr. Strickland used unnecessary and excessive force," a counterclaim from Ujiri's team said. "There was no reason to view Mr. Ujiri as a threat to anyone and no reason for Mr. Strickland to curse at Mr. Ujiri and forcefully shove him as numerous witnesses observed."