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Reporter Accuses NBA Coach Walton of Sexual Assault

Kelli Tennant is suing Luke Walton
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2019 3:44 AM CDT
Then-Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton is seen during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, March 31, 2019.   (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
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(Newser) – Former Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton is being sued by a sports reporter who says he sexually assaulted her years ago. According to a lawsuit seen by TMZ, Kelli Tennant says Walton forced himself on her after inviting her back to his hotel room to discuss a book she had written. She says she yelled "Stop," but he pinned her to the bed and forcibly groped her. She says that when he finally relented and let her get up, he grabbed her again as she was leaving the room before laughing and saying "Good to see you." Tennant says the alleged attack occurred when Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors, a position he left in 2016 to coach the Lakers.

In the lawsuit, Tennant, who worked for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA, says Walton continued to harass her after becoming Lakers coach, the AP reports. She says before the hotel incident, she was friendly with both Walton and his wife and considered him a mentor. Walton was hired as head coach of Sacramento Kings after he was dismissed by the Lakers earlier this month. "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information," the Kings said in a statement, per Bleacher Report. The Lakers issued a statement saying the allegation was not reported to the team during Walton's employment, and "if it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA." (Read more Sacramento Kings stories.)

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