Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri releases statement on vindication from 2019 NBA Finals incident

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Masai Ujiri (NBAE/Getty Images)

On Monday, Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri released a statement on being vindicated from the incident that took place following the 2019 NBA Finals.

"I am so lucky to have my beautiful, loving, supportive family," Ujiri wrote. "I'm grateful to the Raptors players, staff and coaches for having my back. Thank you to the NBA, MLSE and Larry Tanenbaum for your steadfast support. And I am humbled by the fans around the world. You all stood with me.

"I have decided my fight isn't a legal one. Now, the challenge is this: What can we do to stop another man or woman from finding themselves in front of a judge or behind bars because they committed no crime other than being Black? That is the work that each one of us must commit to, every day."

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The statement comes less than a week after MLSE revealed that the claims made against Ujiri were "dismissed entirely, free of any financial settlement." As detailed by ESPN, Ujiri was accused of assaulting Alan Strickland, a San Francisco Bay Area sheriff's deputy, in the moments following Toronto's victory over the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. A video of the incident released in August of 2020 appears to show Strickland shoving Ujiri twice after he tried to show his team credential to reach the court to celebrate with the Raptors.

MLSE announced at the time of last week's statement that Ujiri was "taking some time to process the ordeal" and intended to address it at a later date.

Following Ujiri's statement on Monday, the Raptors posted an interview from Aug. 16, 2020, in which the Raptors president explained how he felt after watching the tape of the incident for the first time.

"I'm lucky that I can fight and stand and show and have evidence, but there are many people that don't," Ujiri said.

"We have to make it better. We have to fight. We have to stand up. We have to speak up. And if this proves it, then we have to continue to do it. I have to continue to do my part for the youth, for the future generation, I have to. It's an obligation as a human being. So when I look at this, I ask, 'Who are we as people? Who are we as human beings?' I ask.

"It comes down to human decency. Human decency."

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