Sheriff's deputy drops lawsuit against Raptors president Masai Ujiri

Arun Srinivasan
·3-min read
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 10: President Masai Ujiri of the Toronto Raptors looks on during the game between the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets during the 2019 Summer League at the Cox Pavilion on July 10, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Alan Strickland dropped his lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Alan Strickland dropped his lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, stemming from an incident that occurred directly after Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, according to court documents obtained by KTVU’s Lisa Fernandez.

In response, Ujiri dropped his countersuit against Strickland, Fernandez reports.

Strickland’s lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred after the 2019 Finals. Ujiri made his way down to the Oracle Arena floor to celebrate the Raptors’ championship victory and take part in the customary on-court presentation of the Larry O’Brien Trophy and Finals MVP Award. Strickland forcefully stopped Ujiri on his way to the court.

"Masai has been completely vindicated, as we always knew he would be," an MLSE spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Global News' Simon Ostler on Wednesday. "We are disappointed that he and his family have had to endure the past 18 months of worry and uncertainty, but for their sake, we are pleased the legal process has come to (an) end — and especially pleased that the claims against Masai and MLSE were dismissed entirely, free of any financial settlement.

"We continue to be deeply troubled by the fact that Masai was put in this position in the first place and believe he should never have had to defend himself. Masai is taking some time to process the ordeal and intends to address it publicly at a later date."

Suing Ujiri, along with the Raptors, Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and the NBA for damages over $75,000, Strickland claimed in his lawsuit that that he incurred injuries that “caused and continue to cause great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering.” He also claimed he hadn’t returned to work since the incident.

Sometime between August 2020 and now, Strickland has since returned to work, and has been assigned to administrative duties, according to Fernandez.

Last August, KTVU obtained a video which revealed Strickland to be the clear, initial aggressor against Ujiri. Ujiri’s lawyers also released a video, first obtained by Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group, which shows Ujiri making his way past a host of fans, a security guard and other credentialed members on his way to the Oracle Arena floor. Strickland sees Ujiri coming, points at him, and as Ujiri holds out his credential, the sheriff’s deputy shoves the Raptors’ president.

Ujiri showed his credential once again, but Strickland pushed Ujiri back with more force, and Ujiri shoved Strickland back.

Strickland, who had to be restrained by bystanders and other credentialed members, attempted to get other security guards involved, before Ujiri was ushered onto the court without further incident.

Ujiri had previously called Strickland’s lawsuit “malicious” and the Raptors have refuted Strickland’s recounting of the events several times since 2019.

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers urged Strickland’s attorney, Brett Beyler, to resolve the matter in January, while suggesting that the videos obtained did not back up Strickland’s testimony, Fernandez reports.

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