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Raptors’ Masai Ujiri releases powerful statement in wake of video

Masai Ujiri statement

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 09: General Manager of the Toronto Raptors, Masai Ujiri looks on during NBA Finals - Practice and Media Availability on June 9, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The bodycam video from the sheriff’s deputy showed Masai Ujiri was telling the truth — he was simply trying to get to the court at Oracle Arena to celebrate a title with the Toronto Raptors. It was the next to the court deputy who started the confrontation and got physical, shoving Ujiri.

This is bodycam footage from a deputy who sued Ujiri in federal court — seeking damages for emotional and physical distress — saying Ujiri “hit him in the face and chest with both fists” and that the Raptors’ president had been the aggressor. The video showed that to be total fiction. A lie.

Thursday, Masai Ujiri released a powerful statement about the incident.

“Thank you to everybody who expressed disappointment and concern regarding the video that was recently released. My family and I are deeply grateful for your care and consideration.

“The video sadly demonstrates how horribly I was treated by a law enforcement officer last year in the midst of my team, the Toronto Raptors, winning its first world championship. It was an exhilarating moment of achievement for our organization, for our players, for our city, four our country, and for me personally, given my long-tenured professional journey in the NBA. Yet, unfortunately, I was reminded in that moment that despite all of my hard work and success, there are some people, including those who are supposed to protect us, who will always and only see me as something that is unworthy of respectful engagement. And, there’s only one indisputable reason why that is the case — because I am Black.”

“What saddens me most about this ordeal is that the only reason why I am getting the justice I deserve in this moment is because of my success. Because I’m the President of a NBA team, I had access to resources that ensured I could demand and fight for my justice. 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 Black Lives Matter.”

“And that’s why it’s important for all of us to keep demanding justice. Justice for George. Justice for Breonna. Justice for Elijah. 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.”

“With love and determination, Masai Ujiri.”

The Raptors previously released a statement having Ujiri’s back.