Earlier this month, a lawsuit against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri that alleged he assaulted a police officer in an attempt to get on the court following the team’s NBA Finals win in 2019 was dropped. The officer, a deputy with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, alleged that Ujiri hit him “in the face and chest with both fists,” something that turned out to not be the case when video of the incident surfaced.
Ujiri has spoken out about the incident, telling Good Morning America earlier this week that, “I lost a moment. People have lost their lives.” And now, in the aftermath of the suit being dropped, NBA commissioner Adam Silver wants to apologize to Ujiri for comments he made on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumble. In the interview with HBO, Silver said of Ujiri, “It’s part and parcel of what comes with someone who is living on the edge a bit and is hard-wired to sort of march forward with incredible energy. Lessons learned for him – without assigning culpability or blame to anyone – as a leader, those are the kinds of situations he needs to learn to avoid.”
In an interview with Michael Grange of Sportsnet this week, Silver expressed regret for those comments which he says cause him to “cringe” whenever he sees them now.
“When I watch that last bit of the interview, in light of what we now know, I would love to take those words back,” Silver told Grange. “[Masai] and I at this point have probably talked about that night 100 times since then. He has my full and unequivocal support. But I apologize to Masai for what I said in that interview … Believe me, when I look at that now, I cringe when I watch it.”
It is unclear whether or not Silver has expressed this to Ujiri directly over the course of the conversations they’ve had or if this is a sentiment he plans to relay going forward. Still, it’s good he was pressed on this and that he recognizes the error he made in making those comments and will take a different approach going forward should a similar situation arise.