Written by Gabriel Dillard
(AP) — Authorities will push for a battery charge against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri after the executive was accused of pushing and hitting a sheriff’s deputy in the face as he tried to get onto the court after his team won the NBA title in Oakland, an official said Friday.
After the game Thursday against the Golden State Warriors, Ujiri was denied access to the court by the deputy because he didn’t have a proper credential, Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“That’s when he tried to push past our deputy, and our deputy pushed him back, and there was another push that kind of moved up and struck our deputy in the face,” Kelly said.
Several bystanders intervened and Ujiri got onto the court without displaying any credentials, Kelly said.
Deputies later took witness statements and obtained video of the incident, he said.
“We’ll be submitting a report to the Alameda County district attorney for complaint of battery on an officer,” he said.
A video of the altercation obtained by NBC Bay Area shows Ujiri and a deputy being held back courtside by several bystanders. It doesn’t show a scuffle.
The Raptors said in a statement to The Associated Press that the team is cooperating with authorities.
“The incident is being looked at, and we are cooperating with authorities,” it said. “We look forward to resolving the situation.”
Warriors fan Greg Wiener, a 61-year-old season ticket holder, said Friday he was standing next to the officer when the encounter occurred.
Wiener said the deputy didn’t ask for any credentials before putting his hand on Ujiri’s chest and pushing him. Wiener says Ujiri shoved him back before bystanders intervened.
Wiener says he was not interviewed by authorities.
Last week, the NBA banned Golden State Warriors investor Mark Stevens from games for a year and fined him $500,000 after he was seen on camera apparently shoving Toronto star Kyle Lowry during Game 3 of the playoffs.
Lowry had dived into a row of courtside seats in an effort to save a loose ball. Stevens, wearing an NBA-issued credential, was seated about two spots away from where Lowry landed and shoved Lowry in the upper body.
Lowry said Stevens repeated a vulgar phrase to him about four times during the brief incident.
The Warriors said later in a statement that the team and Stevens “offer our sincere apology to Kyle Lowry and the Toronto Raptors organization for this unfortunate misconduct.”