Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri issued a statement after video footage was released of the altercation that took place involving a police officer during last year’s NBA Finals.
The video, which was released on Tuesday (Aug. 18), showed Alameda County Deputy Alan Strickland delivering the first push in their altercation. Strickland also filed a federal lawsuit against Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors and Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. He claimed Ujiri initiated the incident which left him with injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth.
“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.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
Ujiri ended his statement by saying that it’s important to demand justice for the Black lives who were lost due to racial violence.
“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,” he concluded.
Check out his Ujiri’s full statement below.