Warriors

'Heartbroken' Welts apologizes to Ujiri after video released

Warriors
Warriors' Rick Welts
Rick Welts
USATSI

Warriors president and COO Rick Welts apologized Friday on Twitter to Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri, three days after body camera footage was released showing Ujiri's encounter with an Alameda County sheriff's deputy at Oracle Arena.

Welts said he was "heartbroken seeing the video" of deputy Alan Strickland confronting and twice shoving Ujiri as he tried to walk on to the court in the waning seconds of the Raptors' championship-clinching victory over the Warriors in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals.

The video, released as part of Ujiri's countersuit against Strickland, showed Ujiri shove Strickland after he was first shoved. This contradicted Strickland's claim in the initial lawsuit that Ujiri instigated an altercation, and further footage disputed the claim that Ujiri caused "injury to [Strickland's] head, body, health, strength, nervous system, and person, all of which have caused and continue to cause [Strickland] great mental, emotional, psychological, physical, and nervous pain and suffering.”

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The Alameda County District Attorney opted not to press charges against Ujiri in October, and Strickland sued Ujiri in February. Ujiri, who is Black, filed a countersuit Tuesday. Sgt. Ray Kelly told Bay Area News Group on Wednesday that the "snippet of video released publicly ... doesn't tell the story of the entire investigation" and that the sheriff's office "[stands] by [their] original statements."

Ujiri said in a statement Thursday that Strickland racially profiled him. He lamented that his "success" was the only reason he was "getting the justice [he] deserved."

 

"Because I’m the [president of an] NBA team, I had access to resources that ensured I could demand and fight for my justice," Ujiri said in the statement. So many of my brothers and sisters haven’t had, don’t have, and won’t have the same access to resources that assured my justice. And that’s why it’s important for all of us to keep demanding justice. Justice for George (Floyd). Justice for Breonna (Taylor). Justice for Elijah (McClain). Justice for far too many Black lives that mattered. And justice for Black people around the world, who need our voice and our compassion to save their lives. Those are the ties that bind us."