The NBA, along with the Sacramento Kings, have launched their own investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kings Head Coach, Luke Walton.
Kelli Tennant, a former Spectrum SportsNet LA host, recently filed a lawsuit against Walton for assault, battery, sexual assault and sexual battery, claiming he forced himself onto her in his hotel room back in 2014. At a news conference earlier this week, Tennant told the media, “I thought he was going to rape me.”
The Kings reportedly had no knowledge of the incident before hiring Walton as their next head coach – but they are launching their own investigation alongside the NBA. The statement released on Thursday reads, in part:
“The Sacramento Kings and the National Basketball Association announced today that they have commenced a joint investigation into the allegations contained in a civil lawsuit filed Monday against Kings Head Coach Luke Walton.
“The Kings and the NBA take these allegations very seriously and will collaborate to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, says Tennant’s claims are patently false. Baute vehemently denied the allegations earlier this week, labelling Tennant as “an opportunist, not a victim.” He issued another statement on Wednesday in which he said, “We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”
Baute’s full statement, according to the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli:
“These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court. Yesterday’s press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”