Sports

Raptors president Masai Ujiri involved in alleged altercation with police after Game 6 win against Warriors

Masai Ujiri is reportedly under police investigation after an altercation between the Toronto Raptors president and a sheriff’s deputy following the team’s Game 6 victory against the Golden State Warriors Thursday.

Ujiri allegedly pushed the officer and struck his face when the officer wouldn’t allow him on the Oracle Arena court to join the post-game celebrations because Ujiri didn’t have the proper credentials, NBC Bay Area reported.

“(The deputy) did not know who the man was and asked for the credential, and that’s when he tried to push past our deputy and our deputy pushed him back, and there was another push that kind of moved up and struck our deputy in the face,” Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“At that point, several bystanders intervened and the executive did ultimately get back on to the court without displaying credentials.”

A video posted on Twitter doesn’t show the altercation, but what seemed to be aftermath.

A man is seen trying to hold back an officer who tries to rush Ujiri before another officer gets involved, nudging his partner to retreat. The man acting as a barrier between Ujiri and the deputy can be heard saying, “No, no, no, no.” Ujiri is walled behind a few people and slowly walks to the middle of the court where Kyle Lowry, the Raptors point guard, yanks him into the celebrations.

Deputies are calling the incident a misdemeanour battery on the officer.

It took security a few minutes to realize Ujiri was the franchise president. “It’s not like we were going to chase him down,” the police spokesperson said. “He had a right to be there, but he didn’t follow the credential policy.”

Kelly told the Washington Post, “Our deputy had no idea who he was. You have to remember that during the NBA Finals, we have a lot of celebrities, VIPs and politicians show up at the game. We don’t know who is who. We’re not from Canada. We don’t follow the Raptors’ management team. There’s so many people trying to get on that court, and you’re talking about an event that has a lot of security details.”

The deputy, whom Kelly declined to name, was uninjured.

“The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities,” the Raptors said in a statement. “We look forward to resolving the situation.”

Said NBA spokesman Mike Bass: “We are in contact with the Raptors and local authorities and in the process of gathering more information.”

Another angle of the incident shows Ujiri saying something to the officer before being corralled and Lowry comes to the rescue, wrapping his arms around Ujiri and telling the president to ignore what just happened. “We’re over here,” Lowry says, referring to the team celebrating on the court. About three seconds into the first video below, Ujiri can be seen holding onto a lanyard with what looks like a credentials card.

The Raptors executive is not in custody, but officers are investigating the incident and plan to hand the case to the district attorney.

With files from the Washington Post.

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