Diversity & Inclusion
Raptors’ Ujiri says fight for equality will continue outside of courts
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he will continue to fight for equality outside the courts now that a lawsuit against him has been dropped.
Ujiri issued a statement Monday in which he thanked Raptors players, staff, ownership and fans for standing with him throughout the timeline of the lawsuit, which stemmed from an altercation with a California law enforcement officer at the 2019 NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif.
The lawsuit, filed by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland and his wife, Kelly, was dropped on Wednesday, as was a countersuit filed by Ujiri.
“I have decided my fight isn’t a legal one,” Ujiri said in the statement.
“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.”
A video of Ujiri speaking on the incident recorded in August, around the time videos of the incident were circulating, was posted Monday on the Raptors’ Twitter feed.
“When I look at this I ask: Who are we as people?” Ujiri says in the video. “Who are we as human beings?
“It comes down to human decency.”
Strickland was seeking US$75,000 in general damages as well as other compensation. He alleged he suffered injuries in an altercation when Ujiri tried to get on the court following the Raptors’ championship-clinching victory over the Golden State Warriors on June 13, 2019, at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.
Ujiri’s countersuit alleged unauthorized use of force by Strickland.
The altercation between the men was captured in a widely circulated fan video, which appears to show Strickland shove Ujiri twice before the Raptors president responds.
Strickland, who alleged Ujiri did not have the necessary credentials to access the court, filed his civil suit after prosecutors decided in October not to press criminal charges against Ujiri.