A candid Masai Ujiri opened up about his struggles after footage was released showing the Toronto Raptors president engaged in an altercation with an Alameda County sheriff deputy.
Speaking to the media via Zoom on Thursday, Ujiri says it was hard for him to deal with the aftermath, admitting that he didn’t sleep ‘for a few days’.
“We saw the rush, we saw what everybody was writing. You look at these things and you can’t help but question yourself,” Ujiri said. “As time goes on, you begin to doubt yourself and I doubted myself, like, ‘what really happened there’.”
A lawsuit was filed by sheriff deputy Alan Strickland following the altercation which took place after the Raptors won their first NBA title against the Golden State Warriors.
In the video, Ujiri can be seen walking towards Strickland as he makes his way onto the court to celebrate.
Ujiri looks to be taking out his credentials when Strickland appears to shove Ujiri in the chest. The two exchange words, only for Ujiri to be shoved again. He then pushes Strickland back. The footage ends shortly after that.
Ujiri’s legal team says the footage shows Strickland was “undeniably the initial aggressor.”
Ujiri released a statement in August, saying: “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.”
#raptors Masai Ujiri said he "didn't sleep for days" when the video came out this summer that shows the sheriff’s deputy shoving Ujiri after the NBA Finals win. Please take the time to listen to his full answer about what he went through. (2/2 tweets because it's 4 minutes) https://t.co/Rl3jzXSKIq pic.twitter.com/9CrJvX7yUs
— Lindsay Dunn (@LindsayDunnTV) September 17, 2020
The Raptors president admits his mental health took a toll, contemplating what had transpired on what should have been one of the happiest night’s of his life.
“I started to think, what if this had gone the total wrong way. There might have been situations maybe I wouldn’t have been lucky. Maybe, I would have acted different. And then, it starts to mess with your mind,” Ujiri said.
“You think about everything. You think about racism and where it’s going. Yes, we say Black Lives Matter. There were times I questioned, do Black Lives Matter only to Black people?”
Ujiri also addressed other basketball matters, saying he and the Raptors have yet to engage in contract extensions but that the team and general manager Bobby Webster were close on a new deal.
Head coach Nick Nurse signed a multi-year extension on Tuesday.