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23 Apr, 2019 10:44

NBA coach Luke Walton accused of sexually assaulting sports presenter

NBA coach Luke Walton accused of sexually assaulting sports presenter

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexually assaulting former sports presenter Kelli Tennant, according to reports in the US media.

Walton is accused of sexually assaulting Tennant, a former host on Spectrum SportsNet LA, on an unspecified date before Walton was named coach of the LA Lakers in April 2016.

ESPN cites a civil lawsuit filed at Los Angeles County Superior Court which alleges that Walton – who had worked with Tennant previously – pinned the reporter to a bed during a meeting at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, California.

Tennant was reportedly dropping off a copy of her book, for which Walton had written the forward, when the coach allegedly invited her to his room.     

The coach, who was an assistant with the Golden State Warriors at the time of the alleged incident, is then claimed to have forcibly groped Tennant’s breasts and kissed her, also “rubbing his erection against her leg” before he eventually stopped.    


According to the lawsuit, in May 2017 Walton is also alleged to have made an “aggressive hug” on Tennant and made a lewd comment about an outfit she was wearing when they met at a charity event, during the time he was head coach at the Lakers.

The lawsuit, first reported by TMZ, alleges he made "vulgar, guttural sounds" at Tennant and said: "Mmmm ... you're killing me in that dress."

The ex-LA Lakers player, 39, recently left his former team as coach following a disappointing season in which they failed to reach the play-offs, and has since joined the Kings.

In a statement, the Lakers said: “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.”


Walton’s current team, the Kings, said on Monday night: "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."

Walton’s team at the time of the alleged hotel incident, the Warriors, also said they were “aware” of the allegations, while the NBA has opened an investigation, according to ESPN.    

On Monday night, an attorney representing Walton issued a statement vehemently denying the allegations.

“Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations,” Mark Baute told The Sacramento Bee.

“The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”