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NBA commissioner Adam Silver apologizes to Raptors president Masai Ujiri

Raptors president Masai Ujiri and NBA commissioner Adam Silver

Oct 22, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri celebrates getting his championship ring as NBA commissioner Adam Silver looks on before a game at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Video vindicated Raptors president Masai Ujiri, whom an Alameda County sheriff’s deputy claimed attacked him after Toronto beat the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals. In reality, Alan Strickland shoved Ujiri twice before Ujiri shoved back (though not with closed fists to the face, as Strickland claimed).

Yet – before a decision not to charge Ujiri and before the lawsuit against Ujiri was dropped – NBA commissioner Adam Silver weighed in.

Silver on HBO’s Real Sports:

“It’s part and parcel of what comes with someone who is living on the edge a bit and is hard-wired to sort of march forward with incredible energy. Lessons learned for him – without assigning culpability or blame to anyone – as a leader. Those are the kinds of situations he needs to learn to avoid.”

After video of Silver’s interview from last October went viral recently, he’s issued a mea culpa.

via Michael Grange of Sportsnet:

“When I watch that last bit of the interview, in light of what we now know, I would love to take those words back,” Silver told Sportsnet during a recent phone interview. “[Masai] and I at this point have probably talked about that night 100 times since then. He has my full and unequivocal support.

“But I apologize to Masai for what I said in that interview…. Believe me, when I look at that now, I cringe when I watch it.”

It’s good Silver apologized.

I also hope he was introspective about what led him to make his initial comments.

What kind of situation was Ujiri supposed to avoid? Going onto the court to celebrate a championship? Obviously not. Interacting with police officers? Not possible.

Far too often, people have treated the police version of events as fact. But police have far too often abused that benefit of the doubt. That’s why public trust in police is eroding.

Yes, Ujiri previously showed himself to be someone “living on the edge a bit and is hard-wired to sort of march forward with incredible energy.” That didn’t mean he did anything wrong in that situation in Oakland.

Strickland’s claims didn’t prove Ujiri did anything wrong, either.