Police are pursuing charges after Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri and a deputy appeared to be involved in an altercation on the sidelines of Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., late Thursday in the wake of his team’s historic NBA championship win.
An unnamed Raptors executive allegedly shoved a deputy twice while trying to make his way onto the court after the game, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office told Global News. The sheriff’s office is pursuing a charge of simple battery of a officer, although it will be the local district attorney’s decision whether to make an arrest.
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The deputy denied a Raptors executive access to the court because he didn’t have the proper credentials, according to police. The executive allegedly tried to push through and the deputy pushed him back, then the situation escalated and the executive reportedly struck the deputy in the face while shoving him, according to police.
However, a Warriors fan says he did not see Ujiri strike a sheriff’s deputy in the face as the executive tried to enter the court after the Raptors won.
Greg Wiener, a 61-year-old season ticket holder, said Friday he was standing next to the officer when the encounter occurred.
Wiener said the deputy didn’t ask for any credentials before putting his hand on Ujiri’s chest and pushing him. Wiener says Ujiri shoved him back before bystanders intervened.
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Wiener says he was not interviewed by authorities.
The sheriff’s office says it did not make an arrest at the time because it was a special moment for the Raptors.
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Video circulating online shows the Raptors’ Ujiri and a police officer being pulled apart. The video does not show the start of the exchange, but the two men appear to be reaching for each other just as the camera turns to them. Several individuals quickly step in to keep the two men apart as they continue to stare one another down.
“No! No! No!” one man can be heard saying as he stands in front of the police officer, blocking his way.
The incident appeared to have occurred just as family and friends of the players flooded onto the court to celebrate.
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A spokesperson for the Raptors told Global News: “The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.”
Furthermore a spokesperson for the NBA said: “We are in contact with the Raptors and local authorities and in the process of gathering more information.”
Ujiri, 48, was hired as the Raptors’ general manager in 2013 after winning Executive of the Year with the Denver Nuggets. He was promoted to Raptors team president in 2016.
ESPN reported after the game that the Washington Wizards were preparing to offer Ujiri a lucrative contract in an attempt to lure him away from the Raptors later this summer.
The Raptors won their first NBA championship with a 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday.
—With files from The Associated Press