Raptors President Masai Ujiri Says Officer Shoved Him at NBA Finals Over Race After New Video Goes Viral

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri released a statement about the video footage that showed the altercation he had with a police officer during the NBA Finals last year. Ujiri, 50, said race was a big reason he was shoved by a San Francisco-area sheriff's deputy during the final moments of Game 6 of the NBA Finals before the team won the championship against the Golden State Warriors. Body-cam footage of Ujiri's encounter with the officer was released this week, and the Raptors president is seen being shoved twice.

"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," Ujiri said in his statement. "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." He went on to say that despite all his hard work and success "some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement." He then added the reason for that is "because I am Black."

Ujiri then noted the only reason he's getting justice is "because of my success" and being the president of the Raptors. He then wrote, "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."

The officer, Alan Strickland, filed a lawsuit in February claiming that Ujiri assaulted him, and as a result of the incident, he "suffered injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering," per ESPN. Ujiri filed a countersuit, which stated that Strickland falsified the encounter and attempted to portray the Raports president as "the initial aggressor and an inherently violent individual."