Not even weeks following the hire of Luke Walton, the Sacramento Kings have a scandal on their hands. In a story by TMZ Sports, Walton is being sued for sexually assaulting a female sports reporter Kelli Tennant, who claims he forced himself on her in his hotel room.
In legal documents obtained by TMZ, Tennant claims while Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors he asked her to come to meet him at the Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica to drop off a book she had published. The two reportedly had a working relationship, which is why she had asked him to write the foreword in her book.
Tennant claims when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could “catch up.” But when they got to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.
In the docs, Tennant claims Walton began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claims she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.
Tennant claims she was “in shock and fear. She was afraid she was about to be raped,” the suit states.
The Kings issued this statement about the news:
“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, has denied the allegations and labeled Tennant as “an opportunist,” issuing this statement:
“Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations. The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom.”
It is a mess of a situation right now for both Walton and the Kings, who have to deal with these allegations in the midst of a busy offseason. We will keep you updated on the situation as it develops, but this will likely not end quietly for Walton, the Kings, Tennant, and Walton’s wife Bre Ladd.