Raptors President Masai Ujiri Responds To 2019 NBA Finals Lawsuit Being Dropped: ‘We Have To Speak Up’

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri is speaking out after a California sheriff’s deputy dropped a lawsuit that alleged Ujiri assaulted him during the 2019 NBA Finals.

“I have decided my fight isn’t a legal one,” Ujiri wrote in a statement released by the Raptors in which he also thanked fans and supporters. “Now, the challenge is this: What can we do to stop another man or woman from finding themselves in front of a judge or behind bars because they committed no crime other than being Black? That is the work that each one of us must commit to, every day.”

Ujiri was violently shoved by Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland during Game 6 of the NBA Finals on June 13, 2019, when Ujiri tried to go onto the court to celebrate his team’s victory. Strickland was off duty but working as a security guard at the time. Strickland alleged that it was Ujiri who assaulted him and subsequently sued Ujiri, the Raptors, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and the NBA.

Authorities never pressed charges against Ujiri and bodycam footage eventually proved Strickland to be the aggressor.

RELATED: Masai Ujiri Addresses Being Shoved By Sheriff Deputy After NBA Finals Win

Ujiri also released a video statement on Monday, shared on the Raptors’ Twitter account. In it, he spoke of his desire for a more equal world where systemic racism and police brutality have no place.

“Seeing that tape was really tough for me,” Ujiri said of the bodycam footage. “Really, really tough. That moment in Oakland was taken away from me but I’ve thought bigger than that now.”

“I know there are people that go through worse and have gone through worse, have been killed,” he added. “I think about this every day, what about those people where’s there no bodycam? What about those people where if there’s if a bodycam, they never ever get to see it? They don’t have money for lawyers. They are accused and they are accused because they are innocent, they are poor, they’re Black and they don’t have anything. They don’t have anything. And I’ve thought about how hard it was for me.”

RELATED: Toronto Raptors’ Masai Ujiri Sued By Oakland Deputy Over Shoving Match

Ujiri acknowledged, “I’m privileged, I’m blessed, I’m lucky. I’m lucky that I can fight and stand and show and have evidence. There are many people that don’t. We have to make it better. We have to fight. We have to stand up. We have to speak up. And if this proves it, then we have to continue to do it. I have to continue to do my part, for the youth, for the future generation. I have to. It’s an obligation as a human being. So when I look at this, I ask: who are we as people? Who are we as human beings? I ask, it comes down to human decency. Human decency.”

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