NBA fines Raptors GM Masai Ujiri for cursing Brooklyn
The announcement comes hours after reports indicated that Ujiri would escape with a warning.
The Toronto Sun reported that Ujiri wouldn't be fined because he made the statement at a fan rally, rather than at a press conference, and because he has no previous disciplinary track record. ESPN.com also reported that Ujiri would only receive a warning.
Ujiri screamed "F--- Brooklyn" while addressing a crowd of enthusiastic fans at the Maple Leaf Square outside the Air Canada Centre before the Nets' 94-87 victory over the Raptors in Game 1. (You can watch the video here, but warning for strong language, obviously.)
Joined on the stage by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment president Tim Leiweke, Ujiri made the comment after telling the crowd he was headed to the game. His New York City dis was met with loud cheers and screams from the assembled fans.
For comparison's sake, Wizards coach Randy Wittman was fined $20,000 for using post-game profanity during a November press conference, Celtics forward Gerald Wallace was fined $10,000 for using profanity after a November loss, and Clippers forward Matt Barnes was fined $25,000 for using profanity on Twitter, among other offenses, following a November ejection.
Ujiri was hired by the Raptors last summer after winning the 2013 Executive of the Year award while working for the Nuggets. He previously served as a front-office executive for Toronto before his Denver tenure.
Thousands of Raptors fans had gathered at the outdoor rally to celebrate the franchise's first postseason appearance since 2008.
"I love Brooklyn," Ujiri told the Toronto Star during the first half. "But it's playoffs. Just trying to get our fans going."
The Sun reported that Ujiri apologized at halftime, referring to the comment as a "wrong choice of words."
"Nothing against the Brooklyn guys," he said. "You know how I feel, I don't like them, but I apologize."
The comment was the subject of post-game talk from both sides.
USA Today Sports reported coach Dwane Casey's reaction: "That’s Masai. That’s why our team plays like that. He’s a fiery guy. That should represent how we feel."
Nets coach Jason Kidd tried to play off Ujiri's comment.
"I don't even know who their GM is," Kidd said, according to Raptors.com.
“I’m shocked Bryan Colangelo would make such a comment,” Pierce quipped, according to the New York Daily News.
When told that Ujiri replaced Colangelo, the Raptors' former GM, last summer, Pierce added: "I don't know who you're talking about."
Raptors "Global Ambassador" Drake also cracked on fellow rapper, and former Nets minority owner, Jay-Z during the Game 1 telecast.
“Jay-Z is somewhere eating a fondue plate,” Drake said. “It’s our time. We’ve got to keep it competitive. This is an ironic match-up.”
The New York Daily News reported Andray Blatche's reply: "S---, you better be careful what tree you bark up. He better be careful." Brooklyn, the East's No. 6 seed, leads the series 1-0 over Toronto, the East's No. 3 seed. Game 2 is set for Tuesday at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.