Toronto Raptors general manager president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri may face charges after allegedly pushing and hitting a sheriff’s deputy in the face moments after his team won the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history, authorities said.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s office confirmed Friday morning that they are pursuing a misdemeanor charge against Ujiri for simple battery of a police officer after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, a police spokesman told The Daily Beast.
According to a sheriff’s office spokesperson, Ujiri “pushed” and “struck” the deputy “in the face” while making his way onto the court after the game ended late Thursday evening at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
“We can confirm our deputy was pushed and struck by a Raptors executive after he asked him for his credentials to go on the court at the end of the game,” the spokesperson said.
The altercation allegedly began after the deputy denied Ujiri access to the floor because he “did not have proper credentials.”
Video footage from NBC Bay Area appears to show the 48-year-old Canadian basketball executive in a verbal scuffle with a law-enforcement officer, as several men separated and restrained both Ujiri and the sheriff’s deputy. Eventually, Ujiri makes his way to the floor where he was hugged by Raptors star point guard Kyle Lowry.
Ujiri appears to be holding a credential in his right hand in the video, however, per NBA rules, only people with designated gold armbands were allowed on the court after the Game 6 game. It is not immediately unclear if Ujiri was wearing an armband or had one in his possession.
“We are working with the Oakland Police Department to file a report and contact witnesses and review video,” the spokesperson said, adding that Ujiri was not arrested.
Both the sheriff’s office and Oakland police will submit reports to the district attorney’s office, the spokesperson added, who will then determine if charges will be filed next week.
The alleged altercation is the second at Oracle Arena during this year’s NBA finals. On June 5, Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Warriors, appeared to shove Lowry during Game 3, after the player fell into the seats during a dramatic play. Stevens, who said in a statement he was “embarrassed by what transpired” was ultimately banned from attending any NBA game for a year and was fined $500,000.