The president of the Toronto Raptors is finally breaking his silence regarding an alleged altercation between himself and a local sheriff's deputy in Oakland. Masai Ujiri spoke about the assault allegation, which first surfaced just after Game 6 of the NBA Finals, during the team’s season-ending news conference. Ujiri was accused of punching a deputy in the chest and the face after he attempted to stop the Raptors president from walking onto the court to celebrate Toronto’s historic win.
Ujiri spoke briefly about the investigation during the press junket but didn’t get into specifics regarding the cop’s allegations. "My lawyers are updating me with that incident, I'm just going to respect what the process is there and the investigation."
"I am confident about who I am as a person, my character, and as a human being." He continued, "I honestly am going to leave all my comments until the whole investigation is done. I think that's the fair way and the right way to operate when things like this do happen." Ujiri concluded, "I respect authority and I'll wait until that happens,”.
Ujiri could be in serious trouble if the deputy’s claims turn out to be true. According to a report by TMZ Sports, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that the league is investigating the incident and that Ujiri could be punished if the allegations are proven to be true.
According to CBC, the deputy’s attorney is claiming that his client suffered a serious concussion and a jaw injury that placed him on medical leave following his altercation with Ujiri. Alameda County Sheriff Offices is pursuing criminal misdemeanour battery charges against the Raptors executive.
Videos of the incident have been shared to social media, but none that support the deputy’s claims. The officer’s lawyer has claimed that they have body-cam footage that proves that Ujiri assaulted the office; however, they have not released that evidence yet.
Greg Wiener, a 61-year old Warriors fan who witnessed the incident, came to Ujiri’s defense disputing the sheriff's story. “The thing about the cops saying the policeman asked for his credentials, that didn’t happen. There was no conversation at all,” Wiener told The Associated Press. “This part about striking him in the face, yeah that didn’t happen.”