Sports: The racial profiling of Masai Ujiri - PressFrom - Canada
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SportsThe racial profiling of Masai Ujiri

19:17  17 june  2019
19:17  17 june  2019 Source:   macleans.ca

Raptors president Masai Ujiri being investigated over possible altercation after Game 6 victory, reports say

Raptors president Masai Ujiri being investigated over possible altercation after Game 6 victory, reports say Raptors president Masai Ujiri being investigated over possible altercation after Game 6 victory, reports say

From racial profiling to endorsing white nationalism, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office seems to have done it all.

Police allege Ujiri then pushed the deputy, who pushed Ujiri back, and told him that he couldn’t make his way to the court. I don’t know Masai Ujiri , and I don’t know if he’s personally had these same experiences that many young Black men like myself have had. racial - profiling .

The racial profiling of Masai Ujiri© Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2019. Ujiri holding the championship trophy after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors on June 13. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

A few years ago, after I wrote a column for Maclean’s on the police killing of Jordan Edwards, I informed my editor at the time that I would prefer to not cover the topic when it wasn’t relevant to Canada. Of course, it’s important for news media to document police killings, I said at the time, and it’s the responsibility of the columnist to analyze them. Otherwise, the narrative offered by police (which is too often passed on by a sympathetic media as objective reporting) becomes the lone authoritative voice in the discourse. This skewed reporting can leave readers with the impression that Black people suffer death—as well as brutal assaults, verbal abuse at gunpoint, and everyday racial profiling—as a result of our own careless actions, rather than state-sanctioned enforcement of racial hierarchies.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri accused of assaulting sheriff's deputy in Oakland

Raptors president Masai Ujiri accused of assaulting sheriff's deputy in Oakland U.S. law enforcement officials allege Raptors president Masai Ujiri assaulted a police officer at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., moments after the Toronto team won its first NBA championship, but an eye witness disputed the authorities' account of what happened. 

Racial profiling is the act of suspecting or targeting a person of a certain race on the basis of observed or assumed characteristics or behavior of a racial or ethnic group, rather than on individual suspicion.

Video has emerged on social media showing Raptors GM Masai Ujiri , who is Black, being “punched and pushed” by a white police officer at Oracle But while the account that tweeted the video claimed the officer was the aggressor, in what bore all the hallmarks of a classic case of racial profiling

But there is a mental toll to writing about police violence, and that the source of that toll isn’t just the knowledge that a structurally white supremacist state sees Black life as disposable, if not inconvenient to its project. There’s also the fact that Black writers must revisit this conversation, ad infinitum, and be met with skeptical reactions ranging from feigned shock to outright denial when we provide rafts of evidence that police are not simply affected by “unconscious bias” (which is clever bureaucrat-speak for “everybody’s a little bit racist”), but are active participants in racial conflict.

Take, for example, the carding of Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri. After the final moments of game 6, when nine milliseconds were stretched by procedural nonsense into infinity, Ujiri raced towards the court to celebrate victory along with the team he spent years building to perfection. As he approached the hardwood, he was stopped by a deputy of the Alameda County Sherriff’s Office. What happened next is unclear, but to hear spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly tell it, when asked to present his credentials, Ujiri allegedly shoved the officer and then shoved him again, striking him in the jaw the second time.

Ujiri altercation with California cop raises questions about service, protection and race

Ujiri altercation with California cop raises questions about service, protection and race Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry logged the most important assist of the season just after their title-clinching win, when he pulled team president Masai Ujiri out of a tense staredown with a courtside police officer and into a warm embrace in the afterglow of the biggest win in franchise history. The moment preceding it — the exchange of shoves and harsh words — might have been a simple misunderstanding between an NBA executive and an officer who didn’t recognize him. Or it might have been a case of racial profiling, a policeman looking to discipline Ujiri for the crime of Celebrating While Black.

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Masai Ujiri , hired in 2013, brought in everyone else. Building a 50-win team on the fly is hard. Ujiri did it, first by trading Gay for parts that fit better and then by galvanizing the roster in ways that made sense.

READ MORE: The rise of an uncaring Canada

On the other hand, Greg Wiener, a Warriors season ticket holder standing nearby the altercation, refuted that version of events. He tweeted: “Ujiri was pulling out his NBA Pass, the cop did not see badge he put his hands on Ujiri to stop him from going forward. The cop pushed Ujiri, then Ujiri pushed back. Cop was wrong.” Wiener repeated this in a televised interview, again suggesting the officer physically restrained Ujiri. Videos from other Twitter users soon surfaced, including footage from backstage as the game concluded, which showed Ujiri holding a badge in his hand while heading out to the arena. In other words, he had what he needed to be where he had to be for his team.

I also spoke with Raptors game announcer Leo Rautins, who described the Alameda Sheriff’s Office version of events as complete nonsense. “There is no way this isn’t a racial profile at best. I did a fast walk by security and no one cared,” Rautins said. “Masai was with his security, and team personnel, who all have credentials. How many [Black] men in a suit, with security and credentials, are trying to get on the court for a trophy presentation?”

Friendship of Raptors, Masai Ujiri continues to inspire La Loche 3 years after deadly shooting

Friendship of Raptors, Masai Ujiri continues to inspire La Loche 3 years after deadly shooting Staff and students in La Loche's school have a special reason to cheer the Raptors' NBA championship.

Masai Ujiri will never forget the night the Raptors won their first title for multiple reasons. The Toronto executive got to see his hard work pay off, but he Ujiri ’s night was also memorable for a reason that he’d like to forget—and one that could pose legal problems for him and lead the NBA to discipline the

Toronto's president reportedly scolded Casey in the locker after the devastating Game 3 loss at the hands of LeBron.

And how was the story reported in Canada?

When the news about the alleged assault emerged, just about every Canadian news service (including Globe and Mail, CBC, and National Post) blared headlines that Masai Ujiri was “accused of assaulting sheriff’s deputy.” All were based on wire news from Adam Burns of the Canadian Press (the Globe and Mail later softened the headline to “allegedly involved in altercation as he was blocked trying to join title celebration,” after it became apparent the original was not going to fly). In the original Canadian Press story, Sgt. Kelly was the lone voice quoted, with no counter-narrative whatsoever, leaving the impression that Ujiri attempted to buffalo his way through a police officer, an officer just trying to do his job, and in the interest of optics during the Sheriff’s office decided to let Ujiri get away with it.

READ MORE: Toronto Raptors: Started from the bottom now we’re here

Let’s put all of that aside for a moment. Let’s even put aside the fact that this is the same Sheriff’s office that hosted the Oath Keepers (a far-right paramilitary organization known for racial antagonism), that has a history of excessive force and racial profiling, and once re-tweeted prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer (supposedly by accident). To believe this version of events, one would have to believe that Masai Ujiri—a Black man who in his previoues role as director for the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program helped cultivate young global talent, who has met and spoken with Black youth from all over Canada, and is currently the most powerful executive in the NBA—that Masai Ujiri walks around so gassed-up during the most important moment of his professional life, that he responds to mild inconvenience by assaulting a sheriff’s deputy. That was the narrative that Canadian press were willing to promote, until a white witness stepped forward to vouch for Ujiri’s conduct.

Police confirm Ujiri identified himself to deputy, showed credentials

Police confirm Ujiri identified himself to deputy, showed credentials Masai Ujiri did present NBA identification to the sheriff's deputy who refused to allow him onto the Oracle Arena court after the Toronto Raptors' NBA Finals victory, the Alameda County Sheriff's Office told Robyn Doolittle of The Globe and Mail. The Raptors president of basketball operations was involved in an altercation with the deputy following Game 6. Sheriff's Office spokesperson Sgt. Ray Kelly said last week that the deputy tried to stop Ujiri from entering the court because he "had no credential displayed, and our deputy asked for his credential.

Getty Raptos' General manager Masai Ujiri during the 2016 Eastern Conference Finals (Getty). Ujiri was able to meet his idol while playing for Bismarck State College, when the team was playing in Minneapolis at the same time as Olajuwon’s Houston Rockets were in town to play the Timberwolves.

Toronto's president of basketball operations and GM may be in hot water just hours after the Raptors became champs.

This is exactly what police count on. When people see racial profiling as a benign accident at best, and bad actors tainting an otherwise good system at worst, its intended purpose is so obscured that we must discuss every offense, every case, every murder, every denial of our humanity as a one-off incident that forms no recognizable pattern of behaviour. Much less a structural tool of a system predicated on keeping Black people in a state of forced obsequiousness, no matter how high we rise within that system, or how powerful we may appear to be. What should have been the proudest moment of Ujiri’s life, and should have been a moment of unadulterated joy for Raptors fans, became yet another footnote in the body of evidence on racial profiling.

And our news media, for all of the promises to be mindful of its own blind spots, gave the police every ounce of undeserved credibility they asked for.

I’m afraid I have no lofty conclusion for my thoughts here, because there is nothing to conclude. The profiling of Masai Ujiri is just the latest entry in that never-ending conversation. Once it fades, we’ll be forced to recapitulate the entire argument, for whatever ridiculous reason, and I don’t look forward to it.

See you soon.

MORE BY ANDRAY DOMISE:
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  • The Jordan Peterson–Slavoj Žižek debate was good for something
  • The rise of an uncaring Canada

Raptors president Ujiri confident team can sign Leonard.
Raptors president Ujiri confident team can sign Leonard

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