NOTE: The Instagram video below includes an instance of foul language. User/reader/listener discretion is advised.
After a five-year postseason drought, the Toronto Raptors returned to the playoffs Saturday, kicking off their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against the Brooklyn Nets at home. The city's fans were extremely fired up for Game 1, with thousands flocking to Maple Leaf Square outside Air Canada Centre to watch the matinee affair on a huge outdoor screen outside the arena.
Evidently, Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri — imported in the spring of 2013 after winning Executive of the Year honors for his work with the Denver Nuggets — was pretty fired up, too. After addressing the amped-up crowd at the pre-game pep rally outside the ACC, Ujiri punctuated his remarks with a four-letter expletive to which I, personally, was first introduced as a lad by Van Halen. As we live in the age of smartphone cameras, the moment was, of course, captured and quickly shared via social media:
Well, then. Tell us how you really feel, Masai!
Ujiri later confirmed that he didn't misspeak:
Spoke to Masai U, who confirmed he said "F--- Brooklyn!" in ML Sqr: "I love Brooklyn. But it's playoffs. Just trying to get our fans going."
— Dave Feschuk (@dfeschuk) April 19, 2014
But as word of his unkind comment toward the borough where they paint murals of Biggie began to spread, the Raptors announced that Ujiri would address media on-site at the ACC at halftime. The content of said address, of course: an apology.
"I apologize wrong choice of words out there." Ujiri
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) April 19, 2014
... but this is pretty much a "sorry, not sorry" situation:
Masai Ujiri, best apology ever: 'You know how I feel. I don't like them, but I apologize.'
— cathalkelly (@cathalkelly) April 19, 2014
Ujiri might find himself a little bit sorry after the game, since his pregame expletive will surely cost him a fair bit of coin. (For reference, Washington Wizards head coach Randy Wittman was fined $20,000 earlier this season for lobbing an eff-bomb during his post-game press conference.) Then again, if this was really a tactical decision rather than a case of Ujiri getting caught up in the heat of the moment, he might not mind all that much.
Nets CEO Brett Yormark had no comment on Ujiri's expletive, according to Fred Kerber of the New York Post. Here's hoping Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is crafting an appropriately "super-cool-Russian-billionaire-y" response as we speak.
Hat-tip to Megan Ann Wilson.
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