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New Evidence Clearly Shows Masai Ujiri Was NOT The Aggressor

Body camera footage shows the ugly truth of what really happened to Masai Ujiri after last year’s NBA Finals.

Let’s Go Raptors by Shaheen Karolia is licensed under CC BY 2.0

New Evidence Clearly Shows Masai Ujiri Was NOT The Aggressor

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

While the NBA playoffs continue to bring much excitement to basketball fans, an unfortunate incident in last year’s Finals has revived. New evidence in the form of body camera footage was released that shows deputy officer Alan Strickland CLEARLY shoved Raptors president Masai Ujiri first in an altercation that never should have happened to Masai Ujiri in the first place.

But it did… and it’s infuriating.

Video shows Ujiri heading to the court at Oracle Arena. He was about to join his team in celebration after the Toronto Raptors took down the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. As Ujiri was about to show Strickland his access pass, Strickland extends his hand towards Ujiri and gives him a shove, telling him to “back the fuck up.”

The Evidence

After the first shove by Strickland, Ujiri, was obviously thrown off and confused. Then Strickland proceeds to shove Ujiri AGAIN with even more force which causes Ujiri to push back. Here is the footage from the body camera below:

It’s a shame that in what should had been a joyful moment for Ujiri ended up being a disgraceful act of ignorance, violence, and hate on account of this deputy. Ujiri issued a statement on Thursday:

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

Masai Ujiri was wearing a nice custom suit with a purple Raptors tie. He was among thousands of people who were in jerseys, t-shirts, sweaters and hoodies. He clearly had his access pass lanyard visible for Strickland to see. Ujiri was obviously not a threat.

So what was the problem? Why did Strickland act the way he did towards Ujiri?

We All Know Why

Or at least we should know why. If you don’t, I can’t help you. You cannot in any way, no matter how hard you analyze or ponder upon the situation, come up with any other reason as to why Ujiri was mistreated. “And there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case – because I am Black.” Unfortunately Mr. Ujiri, you are right. No matter what you have accomplished in your life, for others, your journey, how hard you’ve worked, the success you have celebrated…you were mistreated because you were Black. This is really the America we still live in.

This was a Black man, who was the president of the Toronto Raptors inside an NBA arena with thousands of witnesses in the vicinity and television cameras all over the place. And Masai Ujiri was still mistreated and assaulted by a White deputy officer.

Racism is another pandemic we all must fight

So what about outside a NBA arena, with no television cameras, and no witnesses, and no body cameras? If you don’t think law enforcement violence on the Black community is a problem, this was INSIDE A NBA ARENA. This is just scratching the surface of a global scale issue.

Folks, this is why people are marching. This is why people are protesting. This is why Black Lives Matter. Because again and again and again, we continue to witness concrete, documented evidence of racism, hate, and violence towards the Black community. This incident happened in what should be a safe zone for the NBA, its personnel and its community. Imagine everything that happens outside of Oracle Arena.

I hate racism, but you know what else I hate too? Liars.

After the incident last season, Alan Strickland filed a lawsuit against Ujiri alleging physical and emotional distress. You watch that video and you tell me whether Strickland was physically and emotionally distressed. Strickland also lied about instigation of the action. But again, we clearly know now from the camera footage who the instigator was. And as a result of the body camera footage, Masai Ujiri has filed a countersuit.

I am glad that we can now see the truth in what transpired from this disheartening altercation. However, the fight against racism is still far from over. So let’s get to work.

Matt lives in Newnan, Georgia but was born and raised in Upstate New York. He is a fan of the New York Yankees, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Boston Celtics. At the collegiate level, he is a Notre Dame and Syracuse fan (yeah he can root for both, and what?!) He must, however, find a soccer team to root for. So him out there. All suggestions are welcome. You can catch Matt on the Turf mostly covering NFL, NBA, MLB, College Football and Basketball, and Horse Racing (that is not a typo, he practically grew up on a racetrack). It's nothing's strictly sports.

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