Toronto Raptors President Releases Statement on Police Incident

Written By Erik Buchinger on August 21, 2020 - Last Updated on December 16, 2021

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri made his first public comments after new video footage was released of an altercation between him and a sheriff’s deputy after the NBA Finals last season. Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland’s body camera footage was released with a countersuit filed by Ujiri on Tuesday. The clip appeared to show Strickland as the aggressor.

“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 a 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.”

Following the Raptors’ 114-110 road victory over the Golden State Warriors for the franchise’s first ever NBA title, Ujiri walked was walking onto the court when the incident occurred. In the newly released video, Ujiri reached into his suit jacket pocket to reveal his credential to celebrate with the team when Strickland shoved him and told him to “back the (expletive) up.”

Uriji then identified himself as the president of the Toronto Raptors before Strickland shoves him again. Uriji retaliates by shoving Strickland back before people around them break up the scuffle.

Strickland filed a lawsuit in February that alleged Ujiri assaulted him, which stated Strickland “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.”

Uriji said race was the reason for the altercation.

“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,” Ujiri said. “And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case – because I am Black.”

Uriji also mentioned the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain, all of whom died after run ins with police officers.

Raptors set for Game 3

In their quest to repeat as champions, the Raptors are set to take on the Brooklyn Nets on Friday at 1:30 p.m. EST for Game 3 of their first round series. Toronto has been impressive after the first two games with a pair of victories to give the Raptors a 2-0 advantage heading into the day’s matchup.

Toronto beat Brooklyn 104-99 on Wednesday, and four players had at least 19 points for the Raptors in the game. Toronto was led by Fred VanVleet, who scored 24 points with 10 assists, and Norman Powell, who added 24 points off the bench on 11 of 17 shooting from the floor. He also added six rebounds. Kyle Lowry scored 21 points with nine rebounds, while Pascal Siakam added 19 points with six rebounds.

One United States sportsbook set the odds for Game 3 of the series and has the Raptors as sizeable favorites in Orlando. Toronto is favored by 10.5 points with the over/under set at 221. If bettors want to look at taking the Raptors on the moneyline, they are at -530 to win outright, meaning bettors need to bet $530 to reach a $100 profit.

With its first two wins of the series, the Raptors are now riding a six-game winning streak and won 13 of their last 14 games overall, which goes back to before the break in early March.

Friday’s game can be seen on NBA TV.

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