Masai Ujiri watches as legal action from 2019 finals’ dropped

Toronto Raptors President, Masai Ujiri, has announced that he will not pursue legal options after a lawsuit filed against him was dropped. (Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri released his first public statement since a lawsuit filed by Alameda Country Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland was dropped Feb. 10.
Strickland filed a lawsuit against Ujiri stemming from an incident that occurred after Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, as the Raptors president made his way to the floor to participate in the customary on-court championship celebration. Ujiri was forcefully stopped by Strickland, despite revealing his credentials. Body-cam footage of the incident released by Ujiri’s lawyers in August 2020 showed that Strickland was the clear aggressor in the incident.
“I have decided my fight isn’t a legal one,” Ujiri wrote in his statement. “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’s lawsuit never had much merit to begin with as prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against Ujiri.
Suing Ujiri, along with the Raptors, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and the NBA for damages over $75,000, Strickland claimed in his lawsuit that that he incurred injuries that “caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering,” according to the Globe and Mail.
Ujiri released a countersuit against Strickland, alleging excessive use of force, but dropped the countersuit when Strickland dropped his lawsuit Feb. 10. Both Ujiri and the Raptors had refuted the account of Strickland’s lawsuit, with Ujiri calling it “malicious” several times.
Ujiri also released a separate statement via the Raptors’ Twitter account where he provided an impassioned plea for everyone to continue to fight for a more equal world, and against systemic racism and police brutality. He noted that Black people often don’t have the substantial resources he had to fight such lawsuits in court.
“We have to make it better. We have to fight, and we have to stand up, and we have to speak up.”

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