Warriors' Rick Welts Apologizes to Masai Ujiri After Body Cam Video Released

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2020

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri attends a premiere for
Arthur Mola/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors president Rick Welts issued an apology Friday to Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri after body-cam footage was released showing a confrontation with a police officer following the Raptors' championship-clinching win in the 2019 NBA Finals last June.

Alameda County sheriff's deputy Alan Strickland filed a lawsuit against Ujiri alleging assault, but a countersuit filed by Ujiri this week included a video showing Strickland pushing the Raptors president and telling him to "back the f--k up" as he tried to gain court access, per ESPN.

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Masai Ujiri's legal team has released this body camera footage of his encounter with a sheriff's deputy as he tried to walk onto the court at Oracle Arena after the Raptors won the 2019 NBA Finals. (via @diamond83) https://t.co/OJKn8R3NmU

Welts apologized in a Twitter thread:

"To my personal and professional friend Masai Ujiri, I am heartbroken seeing the video of what should have been the happiest professional moment of your life. It's hard to watch and to know all that swirled around you in the aftermath.

"While we had no role in hiring or managing security at our old arena, it happened at a Warriors game and for that I apologize. You rose above it which doesn't surprise me or anyone who knows you. Now...go make some noise in the bubble!"

Ujiri previously released a statement using the troublesome incident as evidence of the Black Lives Matter movement's importance:

"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 an 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 was hired as the Raptors' general manager in May 2013 after being named the NBA's Executive of the Year for the 2012-13 season while serving in the same role with the Denver Nuggets.

Toronto leads the Brooklyn Nets 3-0 in its first-round playoff series as the organization attempts to defend its 2019 title. Game 4 is scheduled for Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT.