The broad story surrounding the incident involving Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri and an Oracle Arena security guard after Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals has long been known. Ujiri, attempting to reach the court to celebrate his team's first championship, was stopped by a security guard that would not let him pass despite Ujiri attempting to show his credential. A physical altercation followed, and the security guard, Sheriff's Deputy Alan Strickland, has since sued Ujiri, the Raptors, and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owns the team.
But on Tuesday, new bodycam footage was released showing the incident from Strickland's perspective. That video shows somewhat definitively that Strickland was the instigator of the altercation. He first pushed Ujiri away, and when Ujiri attempted to explain himself, he shoved him away a second time with more force. The video then cuts off as Ujiri makes contact with Stickland.
The Raptors released a statement on Thursday from Ujiri in which he thanks fans for their support while also providing a look at how this incident has continued to impact him.
Thank you to everybody who has expressed disappointment and concern regarding the video that was recently released. My family and I are deeply grateful for your care and consideration.
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.
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.
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.
Those are the ties that bind us.
Strickland's lawsuit alleges that he suffered injuries to his head, jaw, chin and teeth during the altercation. The video, however, certainly seems to indicate that he, not Ujiri, was the aggressor. No criminal charges were ever filed against Ujiri, but the altercation cast a pall over what should have been a night of celebration. Ujiri went down to the court to celebrate building an NBA champion. Instead, he was slapped with a lawsuit.