TMZ: Luke Walton Accused of Sexual Assault by Reporter Kelli Tennant in Lawsuit

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 23, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

Former L.A. sports reporter Kelli Tennant has filed a lawsuit against Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton in which she says he sexually assaulted her, according to TMZ Sports.

The Kings released a statement on the matter, via The Athletic's Sam Amick: "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."

The Lakers would also issue comments:

"This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers. If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA. Since Luke Walton is now under contract to another team, we will have no further comment."

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times reported the alleged assault occurred while Walton was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors.

According to the lawsuit, Tennant said Walton forced himself onto her in his hotel room. She said he invited her up to discuss potentially writing the foreword of a book she was working on.

According to the legal documents, Tennant said Walton pinned her down to the bed, kissed and groped her despite her screaming to stop. She said he let her up but forced himself against her again as she walked toward the door before finally allowing her to leave the room.

Walton spent the past three seasons as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers before mutually parting ways with the team following a disappointing 2018-19 season. A few days later, he was officially hired as head coach of the Kings.

Tennant covered the Lakers as well as the Los Angeles Dodgers as a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet LA. She currently hosts a podcast called Ceremony Wellness in which she says she hopes to help people "heal physically and emotionally."

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