FILE PHOTO: Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri arrives at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 12, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Toronto Raptors team president Masai Ujiri is being investigated amid allegations he pushed a sheriff’s deputy and hit him in the face following the Raptors’ championship-clinching Game 6 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday night.
Sheriff’s officials said Ujiri was barred from going on the court at Oracle Arena because he didn’t have proper credentials.
“Mr. Ujiri was unknown to the deputy at that time. He [the deputy] asked him for a credential,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly, a spokesman for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, told ESPN. “He shoved the deputy out of the way and walked toward the court. The deputy pushed back. The president came forward more with a more significant push and ended up striking the deputy in the face.”
In a video posted by NBC Bay Area showing the end of the incident, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is shown pulling Ujiri onto the court. The video does not show Ujiri, or anyone else, striking the officer.
Kelly told ESPN that the league had asked law enforcement to be firm in enforcing the requirement for credentials to access the court. If Ujiri had a credential, he didn’t display it, Kelly said.
The sheriff’s office has been in touch with the NBA but had not yet spoken to either Ujiri or other Raptors representatives, he added.
The incident is being investigated as a misdemeanor battery on an officer. When completed, the report will go to the district attorney’s office for review.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday morning that the Washington Wizards intend to seek permission from the Raptors to speak to the 48-year-old Ujiri about running that team. Wojnarowski said an offer from the Wizards could be in the range of $10 million a year.
—Field Level Media