NBA coach Luke Walton has managed to one-up himself, despite fumbling the Anthony Davis acquisition, missing the playoffs whilst having the best player in the world on his team, and getting fired by the Lakers.
Last night, TMZ reported that the newly hired Sacramento King’s head coach was issued a lawsuit by sports reporter Kelli Tennant for sexual assault. And it appears to be an offense dating his days at Golden State.
According to court documents, Walton took advantage of the work-relationship he had with Tennant. Supposedly, he lured her into his Casa Del Mar Hotel room in Santa Monica two years ago under the guise of “catching up.” In that room, he would pin her to the bed and place his hips and legs over her body.
As a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA at the time, Tennant admits the two maintained a professional rapport. Even to the extent of Walton writing the forward to her book, but had no idea it would go that far.
In the court docs, Tennant states that Walton began forcibly kissing her on the neck, face, and chest. There are also claims that she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin. Then rubbed his erection on her leg.
It was at that moment Tennant says she was “in shock and fear and afraid she was about to be raped,” the suit reads.
According to Tennant, Walton eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but only to grab her from behind and again force his body up against hers. This was as she was walking toward the door to leave.
She says it was only then that Walton finally stopped and released her. Without an obvious shame, he would then walk her out of the room as if nothing had happened.
“He smiled, laughed again and made the disturbing statement, ‘Good to see you,'” Tennant claims in her suit.
And it didn’t end there. Because she didn’t immediately file a report and their jobs continually caused them to interact, the terror continued.
Tennant says each time she saw him, Walton would make implied threats of additional physical threats through his conduct by imposing himself on her with big hugs or a kiss. Although she made it clear his advances were unwanted.
But in May 2017 Tennant finally reached her tipping point.
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While he was coaching the Lakers there was an incident where Walton greeted her by uttering “vulgar, guttural sounds at her” and said, “mmmm … you’re killing me in that dress.” That’s when she filed the lawsuit and said enough was enough.
The Kings have issued a statement regarding the sexual assault allegations saying: “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”
The Lakers, too, have responded, saying: “The alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was a Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during here was this allegation reported to the Lakers.”
Lakers say that the allegation against Luke Walton was never brought to the team’s attention and that if it was, they “would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA.” pic.twitter.com/9uC7zkpD0k
— Bill Oram (@billoram) April 23, 2019
Luke Walton has yet to make a statement. Still, if this situation is anything similar to his last year, he may not have much to say.