Ujiri, 50, said he was thankful so many people “expressed disappointment and concern” after seeing the video. He said the video demonstrates how horribly he was treated by law enforcement, and believes the incident occurred because Ujiri is Black.
A statement from our president Masai Ujiri. pic.twitter.com/ykekTq53XM— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 20, 2020
Ujiri’s full statement read:
“Thank you to everybody who expressed disappointment and concern regarding the video that was recently released. 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, four our country, and for me personally, given my long-tenured professional journey in the NBA. Yet, unfortunately, I was reminded in that moment that despite all of my hard work and success, there are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement. And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case — because I am Black.
“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. 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.
“With love and determination, Masai Ujiri.”
Masai Ujiri was not the aggressor in video
The video shows body-cam footage from Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland. In the video, Ujiri approaches Strickland, who is guarding the court. Ujiri reaches into his suit to pull out his credential to show Strickland. Before he can fully show his credential, Ujiri is pushed by Strickland. Ujiri asks, “Why are you pushing me for? I’m the president of the Raptors” before Strickland pushes Ujiri again. At that point, Ujiri shoves Strickland.
Alan Strickland filed lawsuit against Masai Ujiri
As a result of the run-in, Strickland filed a lawsuit against Ujiri. Strickland is seeking damages for the incident, claiming he suffered emotional and physical distress.
Ujiri filed a countersuit after the body-cam video was released.
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