The NBA has announced that Kings coach Luke Walton has been cleared in the league’s investigation of a sexual assault lawsuit filed by a former television reporter, tweets Sean Cunningham of KXTV in Sacramento. Investigators hired by the league determined there isn’t enough evidence to support the allegations.
Kelli Tennant, who brought the lawsuit, was not part of the investigation, Cunningham adds (Twitter link). The investigators tried several times to interview Tennant, but she repeatedly declined through her attorney.
“I am 100% focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings, and energized to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start the preseason,” Walton said in a statement tweeted by James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I will have no further comment.”
The team also issued a brief statement that read, “Luke Walton is our head coach and we support him and his team as they continue to prepare for the upcoming season” (Twitter link from Jason Jones of The Athletic).
The Kings, who worked alongside the NBA in the investigation, had promised to take an “innocent until proven guilty” stance with their new coach. Walton was given a four-year contract in April, shortly after being fired by the Lakers.
Tenant filed the suit four months ago, claiming the incident happened in May of 2017 while she was interviewing Walton in a hotel room for a book she was putting together. She said he forcibly kissed her and rubbed his body against her even as she asked him to stop. Walton has denied the accusation, with his attorney calling her “an opportunist.”