Luke Walton Sexual Assault Allegations to Be Jointly Investigated by Kings, NBA

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2019

FILE - In this March 31, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans. The Sacramento Kings have hired Luke Walton as their coach just days after he parted ways with the Los Angeles Lakers following three losing seasons. The Kings announced Monday, April 15, 2019, that Walton will replace Dave Joerger. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman, File)
Tyler Kaufman/Associated Press

The NBA and Sacramento Kings announced a joint investigation into the sexual assault allegations made against Kings head coach Luke Walton by former sports reporter Kelli Tennant.

Tennant filed a civil suit against Walton on Monday alleging that he asked her to come to his hotel while he was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors so she could give him a copy of a book she had published, for which he wrote the foreword.

Walton was then said to have invited her to his room, where he allegedly "pinned her on the bed, forcibly kissed her and groped her" and "laughed at her pleas before eventually releasing her," per Sarah Mervosh of the New York Times.

Tennant also said that "other flirtatious behavior in the wake of the incident—much of which took place when she was a reporter for Spectrum SportsNet and Walton was with the Los Angeles Lakers—made her uncomfortable and was a significant hurdle for her job," per Kyle Goon of the Mercury News.

She said the behavior contributed to her departing Spectrum SportsNet.

Walton's lawyer, Mark Baute, called Tennant an "opportunist" and said her allegations were "not credible" on Wednesday. 

Walton was hired by the Kings as the team's new head coach after the 2018-19 regular season, following his firing by the Lakers. Both the Lakers and Warriors said they were unaware of the alleged sexual assault while he was employed by either team, per Mervosh. 

Tennant is not seeking criminal charges against Walton.

"Our interest is not to have Mr. Walton put in jail or to be investigated by the police necessarily," her lawyer, Garo Mardirossian, said at a press conference. "Our interest was for Kelli to feel better about herself, to come out and talk about what happened to her."

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