Raptors president struck officer running to court after finals win
A sheriff’s deputy was pushed and hit in the face by Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri on Thursday night after his team defeated the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA Finals, according to the Alameda County, California, Sheriff’s Office.
As the Raptors players celebrated their victory at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Ujiri attempted to go onto the basketball court without showing his credentials when asked by a deputy, said Ray Kelly, public information officer for the sheriff’s office.
Ujiri pushed the deputy out of the way and got on the court, Kelly said.
The deputy tried to stop Ujiri by pushing him backward off the court, Kelly said. Ujiri then pushed the deputy a second time, with part of his arm or elbow coming into contact with the deputy’s face, the spokesman said.
A Raptors spokesperson told CNN Sports on Friday, “The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.”
Kelly said the sheriff’s office is working with the Oakland Police Department to compile witness statements and videos. It will submit evidence to the district attorney’s office for a possible charge of battery on an officer, he said.
Kelly said it wasn’t an intentional punch, but the strike landed on the deputy’s jaw and he complained of pain.
The deputy was not seriously injured, according to Kelly, and he was treated and released at an area hospital.
Thursday’s incident is not the first time a team official made a scene at the finals.
In Game 3 on June 5, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry went into the stands while going after a loose ball and was pushed by a man sitting in the front row at Oracle Arena.
The “fan” turned out to be Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens. The NBA fined him $500,000 and banned him from attending any team activities through the end of next season’s playoffs.
The Warriors released a statement from Stevens last week apologizing.
“I take full responsibility for my actions … and am embarrassed by what transpired,” he said. “What I did was wrong and there is no excuse for it. Mr. Lowry deserves better, and I have reached out today in an attempt to directly apologize to him and other members of the Raptors and Warriors organizations.”
The Raptors won Thursday’s game 114-110 for a 4-2 series victory.
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.