Deputy Alan Strickland Accuses Raptors' Masai Ujiri of Lying About Credentials

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2020

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

Alameda County Sheriff's Office Deputy Alan Strickland said Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri lied about having credentials to enter the Oracle Arena court following Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals despite what released video footage depicts.

The Athletic's Daniel Wallach shared some of Strickland's court filing in a Twitter thread in which the deputy said Ujiri misled the "court, the media and the public" with the "false" claim he had the correct credentials.

"Deputy Strickland gave Ujiri both verbal commands to stop and present his credentials and used his left index finger to point Mr. Ujiri back to the AEG official," the filing said. "Mr. Ujiri ignored Deputy Strickland’s commands and swatted his hand away."

It also read: "Due to Mr. Ujiri’s evasive behavior and his refusal to stop and present his credentials, Mr. Strickland had no alternative but to physically stop Mr. Ujiri. Mr. Strickland pushed Mr. Ujiri backwards with an open-handed push using both hands to Mr. Ujiri’s chest."

The altercation came after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 and Ujiri was going to the floor to join his team in celebration.

Released footage shows Strickland stopping the Raptors president to ask for the credentials. As Ujiri reached for those credentials, Strickland shoves him and then does so again.

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Ujiri issued a statement saying the altercation happened because he is Black, while the Raptors issued a statement as well supporting their president:

Andrew Lopez of ESPN provided more details, noting the video was included in a countersuit filed by Ujiri after Strickland filed a lawsuit in February. Strickland's lawsuit alleged Ujiri assaulted him, which led to "injury to his body, health, strength, activity and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause Plaintiff great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering."

However, the footage shows Strickland saying "back the f--k up" toward Ujiri, who was not the aggressor.

Lopez noted the Raptors held a team meeting to watch the video. Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell both pointed to it as an example of the systemic racism and police brutality players in the league are fighting against with their platform.