Kings coach Luke Walton denies sexual assault allegation, says hotel encounter was 'pleasant'

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

Three months after he was accused by former Spectrum Sportsnet reporter Kelli Tennant of sexual assault, Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton is denying that any attack occurred in court filings obtained by The Sacramento Bee and The Associated Press.

In a civil lawsuit filed in April, Tennant had accused Walton of holding her down on a bed and kissing her against her will in his Santa Monica hotel room in 2014, when he was an assistant for the Golden State Warriors.

Additionally, Tennant said Walton had repeatedly made her uncomfortable while the two worked together when he was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Walton says he has ‘limited memory’ of encounter

In a court brief filed last Wednesday, Walton reportedly claimed that his hotel room meeting with Tennant was “very short, entirely pleasant and consensual,” with no raised voices, groping or awkwardness, per the AP.

Walton also reportedly denied that he even wrote the foreword of Tennant’s book, “The Transition: Every Athlete's Guide to Life After Sports,” which the two were allegedly meeting about following its publication.

Per the Bee, Walton also conceded that he had “a limited memory of the encounter,” though it’s worth again noting that the alleged assault happened five years ago.

The Kings' investigation into new head coach Luke Walton is still reportedly ongoing. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
The Kings' investigation into new head coach Luke Walton is still reportedly ongoing. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Walton reportedly claimed Tennant is filing the lawsuit “because she needs money,” though Tennant has said she isn’t seeking any specific dollar amount or jail time for Walton with her lawsuit. Her lawyer has also reportedly said a criminal case is unlikely.

The Bee reported that the court filing stated Tennant waited beyond the statute of limitations to come forward, and that Walton will be seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed and for Tennant to pay his attorneys’ fees.

Kings still investigating Walton allegations

While Tennant’s lawsuit is still pending, the Kings and the NBA launched ongoing investigations when the accusations came to light.

Walton had been hired by the Kings just over a week after being fired by the Lakers when Tennant filed her lawsuit.

The Kings have since seemed to move forward with Walton as their head coach, hiring multiple assistants onto his coaching staff despite his job status being supposedly dependent on the outcome of the investigation.

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