The Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri spoke out for the first time since he was accused of assaulting a California sheriff’s deputy after Game 6 of the NBA Finals earlier this month.
At the conclusion of the game, after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors to win their first championship, Ujiri tried to walk on the court to celebrate, but the Alameda County Sheriff’s deputy wouldn’t let him through.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office said Ujiri didn’t have the proper credentials to walk on the floor. But a video shows that he was holding something that resembled an ID the entire time.
Eventually, a physical altercation broke out inside the Oakland arena and from there the details get a bit gray.
The deputy, whose name has yet to be revealed, claimed Ujiri not only pushed him first, but punched him twice — once in the shoulder as well as the jaw. The officer also said he suffered a concussion. A few eyewitnesses, however, said the officer shoved first and wasn’t punched like he claimed. One of those witnesses also said the deputy didn’t look injured after the incident at all.
On Tuesday, in a postseason press conference, Ujiri told reporters he’ll just wait for the investigation to play out.
“My lawyers are updating me. Honestly, I’m just good with that,” he told reporters. “I’m just going to respect what the process is there and the investigation, and I am confident about who I am as a person, my character and as a human being. So for now I’ll just respect their process there and wait for the next steps.”
Ujiri was also asked if he felt he was singled out by the cop who demanded his ID.
“I honestly am going to leave all my comments until the whole investigation is done,” he answered. “I think that’s the fair way and the right way to operate when things like this do happen. So I respect authority and I’ll wait till that happens.”
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said they’ll look to bring misdemeanor battery charges against Ujiri, and the deputy is also considering a civil lawsuit.