OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Toronto Raptors president who didn't have his credentials displayed could face a misdemeanor battery charge, the Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman said, after he allegedly pushed and hit a deputy in the face on Thursday following Game 6 in the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Masai Ujiri was not arrested and both the sheriff’s office and Oakland police will submit reports to the District Attorney’s office which will decide what if any charges will be filed. At this point the incident is being investigated as a misdemeanor battery, Sgt. Ray Kelly said on Friday. Deputies said they did not arrest the basketball executive.
"We we didn't want to impact that moment," Kelly said. "We took the high road. We took the complaint route."
The confrontation, which was captured on security and other videos as well as the deputy’s body camera, happened moments after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors 114-110. Kelly said his agency would not be sharing the body camera video.
Kelly said Friday that Ujiri tried to come on the court to join the team but did not have the proper credentials. Kelly said that deputies were told by the NBA to strictly enforce credentialing. Everyone knows the policy, Kelly said.
Kelly said when the deputy, a member of the department’s bomb squad, tried to stop Ujiri, who he did not know, the executive pushed the deputy out of the way to get on the court. The deputy pushed him back and said he could not get on the court.
Kelly said Ujiri shoved the deputy again but this time his arm went up and struck the deputy in the face. The deputy was not injured.
At that point NBA officials who were present stepped in and got Ujiri away and allowed him to join the celebration, Kelly said.
Video provided to KTVU by a Twitter user with the handle @BenBaller does not show any of the alleged violence. The 15-second clips shows a man in a green sweater holding Ujiri back and walking him off the court. At least two deputies are seen in the background. Ujiri is dressed in a black suit and doesn't say anything on the video. The video doesn't show his credential, but a sports reporter in Philadelphia has a screen grab of Ujiri holding what appears to be a credential in his hand.
In a statement, the Raptors said on Friday: “The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities. We look forward to resolving the situation.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass issued a similar statement: “We are in contact with the Raptors and local authorities and in the process of gathering more information.”
The altercation between Ujiri and the sheriff’s deputy marked the second incident at Oracle Arena during the NBA finals between someone affiliated with one of the teams. During Game 3 on June 5, Mark Stevens, a minority owner of the Warriors, shoved Toronto’s Kyle Lowery after the player dove into the courtside seats to save a loose ball.
The league took quick action, and the NBA and the Warriors announced that Stevens has been banned from attending any NBA game for one year and fined $500,000 for his actions.
In a statement, Stevens took “full responsibility” for his actions and said he was “embarrassed by what transpired.”