The LA Times’ Tania Ganguli has confirmed the lawsuit against Luke Walton. However, her timeline places the incident when Walton was still an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. The Lakers hired Walton in May of 2016. TMZ has removed their initially reported date (which can be seen below) off their story.
Ganguli further reports that the Lakers did not know about the allegations against Walton and that they did not have a bearing on his job status with the organization. Ganguli cites a “Lakers source” in her report.
A Lakers source says that the allegations against Luke Walton, which were said to have happened before the Lakers hired him, were never reported to the Lakers, and consequently had no bearing on Walton's job status.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) April 23, 2019
Luke Walton’s lawyer, who also represented Derrick Rose in his civil sexual assault case, has released a statement to the media on his client’s behalf.
All three organizations that have employed Walton since the alleged incident have also released statements, all claiming to have not known about the allegations until now.
Official statement regarding Luke Walton:https://t.co/JCFvcSHm6x
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) April 23, 2019
The Kings have issued a statement regarding sexual assault allegations against their new coach, Luke Walton, as reported by TMZ.
"We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 23, 2019
The Warriors’ statement re: Luke Walton. pic.twitter.com/cpWgXad9Ry
— Connor Letourneau (@Con_Chron) April 23, 2019
Meanwhile, Santa Monica police say they never got a report about Walton and are not currently investigating the allegations against him, via the LA Times.
Original story follows:
Former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton is being sued for sexual battery, according to TMZ Sports. The alleged incident occurred in 2017, when Walton was with the Lakers.
According to TMZ, former Spectrum Sportsnet host Kelli Tennant entered Walton’s hotel room in Santa Monica in May 2017 to work on a book for which he was to write the foreword. In the hotel room, Tennant alleges that Walton forced himself on her and kissed her without consent before eventually relenting due to her screaming.
Tennant and Walton previously had a work relationship when the former Lakers player appeared on Spectrum’s Lakers coverage alongside her.
Tennant also reportedly alleges that Walton had, on several occasions, made inappropriate comments and advances toward her.
It’s not immediately clear if the Lakers were aware of these allegations during Walton’s three-year tenure or before his dismissal. The timeline of the alleged incident would put it just after Walton’s first year coaching the Lakers.
Details are currently sparse but we will update the situation as they become more available.