NBA Head Coach Luke Walton Accused of Forcing Himself on Sports Journalist Kelli Tennant
Kelli Tennant claims in a lawsuit that Luke Walton pinned her on a bed and forcibly kissed her neck, face and chest.
A sports reporter is accusing new Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton of sexual assault.
Kelli Tennant, who worked for Spectrum SportsNet, says Walton forced himself on her in a hotel room in April 2016 before he took the job as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In her lawsuit, Tennant says Walton was a "trusted colleague, mentor and even friend" in the world of sports journalism. She even got to know his wife because both women were former college volleyball players.
She says she had asked Walton to write the foreword to her book, "The Transition: Every Athlete's Guide to Life After Sports," which was published in 2014. She says she made plans to give him a copy at the exclusive Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica.
Tennant says Walton invited her up to a room. Once they were inside, she says he suddenly pinned her on the bed and forced kisses on her neck, face and chest. She says she was terrified and yelled for him to stop. When he finally let her go, she says he laughed and said, “good to see you.”
Walton, a former professional basketball player himself, is 6 foot-8 and 235 pounds. She says in the lawsuit that she "was afraid she was about to be raped."
Back then, Walton was assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. He went on to become head coach of the Lakers. But two weeks ago, he and the Lakers parted ways. He was hired by the Sacramento Kings just 24 hours later.
Walton's lawyer says, "The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom."
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