Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri allegedly pushed an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy and struck him in the face shortly after his team won the NBA championship in Oakland on Thursday night, a sheriff’s spokesman said.
Ujiri wasn’t arrested but he’s being investigated for suspicion of misdemeanor battery on an officer and the sheriff’s office will submit a report to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office to decide if charges should be filed against him, Sgt. Ray Kelly said.
After the Raptors defeated the Warriors 114-110 to win the championship, Ujiri, who was unknown to the deputy, tried to go onto the court at the Oracle Arena but didn’t have the proper credentials, according to Kelly:
“We were told by the NBA to strictly enforce credentialing and that no one should be allowed on the court without the proper credentials to make sure everyone is safe.”
When the deputy tried to stop Ujiri from getting onto the court, the Raptors executive shoved him and the deputy pushed him back, according to Kelly.
Ujiri then shoved the deputy a second time with more force and his arm went up and struck the deputy’s face, Kelly said.
The deputy wasn’t significantly injured but complained of pain in his jaw, according to Kelly.
Ujiri was able to make his way onto the court after the second shove, Kelly said.
Deputies who assisted the deputy involved in the incident with Ujiri realized that he was the Raptors’ president and decided it was not in their best interests to arrest him on national television as his team celebrated winning the championship, Kelly said.
The confrontation between Ujiri and the deputy was the second incident at Oracle Arena during the NBA Finals involving an executive with one of the teams.
During Game 3 on June 5, Warriors minority owner Mark Stevens shoved and swore at Toronto’s Kyle Lowry after Lowry dove into the courtside seats to save a loose ball.
The NBA and the Warriors announced that Stevens has been banned from attending any NBA game for a year and fined $500,000.