Opinion: Raptors president Masai Ujiri owed apology from police over Finals assault


Someone owes Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri an apology.

Several someones even.

Alan Strickland is one. He is the Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy who was working as a security guard at Game 6 of last season’s NBA Finals in Oakland and whose version of events described in a civil lawsuit against Ujiri, the Toronto Raptors, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the NBA do not match video of the altercation between Strickland and Ujiri following Toronto’s championship-clinching victory.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office is another. It propagated the fabrication in a statement from a sheriff spokesman, who also happens to be Strickland’s friend, and the sheriff’s office ultimately wanted to pursue a misdemeanor complaint for battery of an officer.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri and guard Kyle Lowry celebrate winning the 2019 NBA championship.

And those in the news media who were quick to condemn Ujiri as the instigator.

In October, the Alameda County district attorney’s office announced it would not file charges against Ujiri, but Strickland in February filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming he suffered serious injuries and permanent disability. He is seeking financial relief.

Those claims were exposed on Tuesday when Ujiri filed a countersuit that includes video, including from the deputy’s body cam, of the incident that shows Strickland as the  instigator who shoved Ujiri not only first but twice as the Raptors executive tried to show his credential and join the team on the court for the championship celebration.