Amid the good news coming out of the Raptors’ NBA Finals win, were reports that general manager Masai Ujiri was being investigated for an altercation with police in the arena.
The Raptors pulled out an emotional and gutsy win on the road in Game 6 to close out the Warriors and secure the first title in franchise history. For hours after the game ended, social media was awash in scenes of the Raptors celebrating in Oakland, and their fans celebrating in the streets back home.
However, reports broke later that might put a slight damper on the celebration. Local news reported that a man believed to be Masai Ujiri had been involved in an altercation with a police officer inside the arena.
Follow-up reporting confirmed that it was Ujiri who the police were investigating and that the incident was sparked by an office confronting him over not displaying the proper credentials for being on the court after the game.
Footage in the original news report appeared to show the aftermath of the altercation with several people keeping Ujiri and the visibly furious officer separated. A separate video catches a brief snippet of what may be the altercation with what looks like Ujiri pushing the officer away, albeit fairly mildly. It’s disappointing to have an incident like this mar what should have been a night of celebration but it includes many aspects — specifically the interplay of race and aggressive policing — that have driven a larger conversation around the NBA about activism and social justice. Needless to say, even if this turns out to be functionally just a simple push this is an incident that will be talked about a lot in the days to come.
We will almost certainly get more details throughout the day about how the police are proceeding as well as Ujiri’s side of the story.