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Raptors president Masai Ujiri says fight for equality will continue outside courts after lawsuit dropped

Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri is seen a 2019 photo. Chris Young / File / The Canadian Press

Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri says he will continue to fight for equality outside the courts now that a lawsuit against him has been dropped.

Ujiri issued a statement Monday in which he thanked Raptors players, staff, ownership and fans for standing with him throughout the timeline of the lawsuit, which stemmed from an altercation with a California law enforcement officer at the 2019 NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif.

The lawsuit, filed by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland and his wife, Kelly, was dropped on Wednesday, as was a countersuit filed by Ujiri.

Read more: Lawsuit, countersuit stemming from NBA Finals altercation involving Masai Ujiri dropped

“I have decided my fight isn’t a legal one,” Ujiri said in the statement.

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“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.”

Strickland was seeking US$75,000 in general damages as well as other compensation. He alleged he suffered injuries in an altercation when Ujiri tried to get on the court following the Raptors’ championship-clinching victory over the Golden State Warriors on June 13, 2019, at Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

READ MORE: Masai Ujiri says anti-Black racism behind shoving incident at NBA Finals

Ujiri’s countersuit alleged unauthorized use of force by Strickland.

The altercation between the men was captured in a widely circulated fan video, which appears to show Strickland shove Ujiri twice before the Raptors president responds.

Strickland, who alleged Ujiri did not have the necessary credentials to access the court, filed his civil suit after prosecutors decided in October not to press criminal charges against Ujiri.

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