Masai Ujiri, who’s the president of the Toronto Raptors, is being sued by an Alameda County, California, sheriff’s deputy several months after the two were involved in an altercation after Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals.
The incident happened shortly after the Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors and won their first championship.
As Ujiri tried to walk on the court to celebrate with his team on Golden State’s floor, the deputy, whose name is Alan Strickland, denied him access.
Later, a spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said Ujiri was turned away because he didn’t have the proper credentials to walk on the court. But he was seen holding identification on video, before he had the run-in with the officer and during.
Although it wasn’t seen on video, Strickland said the Raptors president shoved, then punched him once in the shoulder, then in the jaw with both fists. As a result, the deputy said he suffered a concussion, as well as an injured jaw, which he had to take medical leave for.
But there were at least three witnesses who were 10 feet away from the incident, and they contradicted the deputy’s claims. One man said there weren’t any punches thrown at all and another said Strickland shoved Ujiri first.
Eventually, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office said they weren’t going to file criminal charges against Ujiri, but Strickland still filed his suit in California last week.
The deputy claims that he wasn’t only physically injured from the scuffle, but he suffered from “severe emotional and physical distress” as well.
Plus, Strickland claims to have permanent disability and said he’s “suffered great anxiety, embarrassment, anger, loss of enjoyment of life, injury to reputation and severe emotional and physical distress.”
Besides Ujiri, Strickland is suing the Raptors organization and the NBA because he said the league “Knew or should have known” that Ujiri had a propensity for violence.
Strickland also included Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in his suit, and a spokesman for the company has already responded.
“We are disappointed but not at all surprised Mr. Strickland has elected to take this path,” said MLSE’s Jennifer Quinn in an email to CBC News. “His claims are baseless and entirely without merit. They should and will be viewed appropriately for what they are.”
“The Toronto Raptors and Masai have jointly retained very able counsel who will be handling this matter on our behalf and consequently, we do not intend to make any further statement about it,” she added.
Strickland’s wife Kelly is named as a co-plaintiff in the suit, and there’s no word on how much the deputy is suing for but it’s said to be above $75,000.
The couple is suing Ujiri for assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and loss of consortium.