Doc Rivers is a friend of Masai Ujiri.
The Los Angeles Clippers coach spoke on Thursday about the video showing Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland instigating an altercation with the Toronto Raptors president as he attempted to join his team in celebration of last season’s NBA championship.
Rivers says there’s more to the video that’s been widely released. He’s seen it. And it makes him “really sad.”
What happened with Ujiri
In case you missed it, bodycam video and footage from the stands released this week clearly shows Strickland starting a physical altercation with Ujiri as he walked to the court after Toronto’s Game 6 NBA Finals win over the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena last season.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office initially pursued a complaint against Ujiri for battery against a police officer and painted Ujiri as the aggressor in the incident.
“We were told to strictly enforce the credentialing policy and not allow anyone onto the court without a credential, so our deputies were doing that,” Sgt. Ray Kelly told reporters last June. “Our deputy contacted Mr. Masai Ujiri as he attempted to walk onto the court. He had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.
“Mr. Ujiri didn’t produce them and pushed our deputy out of the way to gain access to the court. At that point our deputy tried to stop him and pushed him backward and then Mr. Ujiri came back with a second shove, a more significant push that, with his forward momentum, his arm struck our deputy in the face.”
Prosecutors eventually declined to pursue charges, and the video released this week demonstrates why. Strickland violently grabbed and shoved Ujiri unprovoked as Ujiri tried to show him his credential.
Strickland has since sued Ujiri, claiming “great mental, physical, emotional and psychological pain and suffering.”
Rivers: There’s more ‘very hurtful’ footage
On Thursday, Rivers told reporters that he has seen more footage than what has been publicly released.
Doc Rivers on the footage of the altercation between Masai Ujiri and a San Francisco-area sheriff's deputy after the clinching game of the NBA Finals last year: “It was actually very hurtful, to watch that video.” pic.twitter.com/LXkMV8aLTV— Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) August 21, 2020
“He shared the video with me,” Rivers said of Ujiri. “It was sad to see. It’s actually very hurtful to watch that video. A man is that the pinnacle of his career at that moment walking out on the floor to celebrate with his team — they’d just won the NBA championship. And he had to be reminded once again what his color was. And it’s just so sad.
“When you see the whole video, which I don’t think a lot of people have seen yet — the cop was nice, nice, nice, and then here comes this one black man with a suit. It’s just really sad.”
Ujiri countersued Strickland this week upon the release of the video.
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