Sexual assault allegations of Luke Walton puts Kings in damage control

Photo credit: tmz.com

By: Ana Kieu

TMZ Sports first reported female sports reporter Kelli Tennant’s lawsuit against current Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton on Monday night. Sure, it may seem like just another headline among the tabloids, but sexual assault isn’t a joke, it’s a serious issue that has to be addressed in the general public. Some accusations may not be true, but about this accusation, we’ll have to wait and see if it turns out to be true.

Walton was hired by the Kings on April 14th. That, my friends, was only eight days ago. Before joining the Kings, Walton served as the Los Angeles Lakers head coach from 2016-19, Golden State Warriors assistant coach from 2014-16, Los Angeles D-Fenders player development coach from 2013-14 and Memphis Tigers assistant coach in 2011. Walton played in the NBA from 2003-13 after being a second-round draft pick at the 2003 NBA Draft. Walton played NCAA basketball at Arizona from 1999-2003.

Kelli Tennant is a host for the Ceremony Wellness podcast and a sports reporter who has worked for ESPN, PAC12, E! News, Fox Sports, Spectrum Sportsnet, and SportsNet LA. Tennant is a Temecula, Calif. native whose alma mater is the University of Southern California. Tennant played NCAA volleyball at USC for two seasons.

According to TMZ, Kelli Tennant claimed that before Walton became the Lakers head coach, he asked her to meet him at his Santa Monica hotel to discuss a book she was writing. She says they had a business relationship for several years and she wanted him to write a foreword.

In the suit, Tennant said when she arrived at Walton’s hotel, he convinced her to come up to his room so they could discuss the book. She claims when they got up to his room, Walton suddenly pinned her to the bed, placing his hips and legs over her body.

In the docs, Tennant claimed Walton began forcing kisses on her neck, face and chest. She claimed she screamed for him to stop and tried to free herself, but he held her down, groped her breasts and groin, and rubbed his erection on her leg.

Tennant says he eventually relented and let her get up from the bed, but as she was walking towards the door to leave, he grabbed her from behind and forced his body up against hers.

Tennant claimed when Walton finally released his grasp, she opened the door and left, but could hear him say, “Good to see you.”

Tennant claimed she did not initially report Walton’s conduct, but was forced to continually interact with him because of her job. She saied each time she saw him, he’d impose himself on her with a big hug or a kiss, even though she thought she made it clear his advances were unwanted.

In the suit, Tennant claimed on one occasion, Walton greeted her by uttering, “vulgar, guttural sounds at her” and said, “Mmmm…you’re killing me in that dress.” She says he then forced an aggressive hug on her and rubbed his body against hers.

While it’s unclear what exactly promoted Tennant to come forward, I can reassure you that the Kings are in damage control mode right now. Walton hasn’t released a statement, and it’s unclear if he’ll comment on anything. The Kings haven’t commented on the matter either. Sam Amick of The Athletic tweeted, “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.”

Z-Bo arrested – Did the Kings plan for veteran leadership just go up in smoke?

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Z-bo Police car damage
Photo from totalprosports.com

NBA veteran and now a member of the Sacramento Kings Zach Randolph was arrested in the Watts area of Los Angeles on Wednesday night on suspicion of marijuana possession and intent to sell. He was one of three men arrested by LAPD. One individual was arrested for being an ex-convict in possession of a gun.

What’s the big deal — isn’t weed about to be legal in California

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The big deal is the amount of marijuana that was seized in the arrest. According to TMZ Sports, two pounds of marijuana was taken into custody during the bust by Los Angeles Police. You read that amount correctly — two pounds. That is just a “tad” above the amount that is considered to be for personal consumption.

Randolph has earned an estimated $175-180 million in salary alone in his 16-years in the NBA. One would not think he would need to be selling “weed” to in order pay his bills. The problem is being associated with a large amount of marijuana that is considered beyond what would be normal for personal consumption places a person in the potential sales and distribution business. Even if the individual were giving the product away for free, that act could be deemed illegal.

The whole scene got out of control

According to reports, when LAPD rolled up on the scene a pursuit began for three adult males. That pursuit involved the entry into a home in the area. When the three suspects (one of which was Randolph) were brought out of the house, the crowd that gathered in the area turned ugly.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, a dispersal order was issued by law enforcement. The crowd then began throwing rocks and bottles at police. They also proceeded to damage several police vehicles.

Fortunately no one in the crowd or any officers were injured in what had to be a very tense situation.

Welcome to the LA County Jail

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Randolph was booked into the LA County Jail. He was released on Thursday morning at 8 a.m. on $20,000 bail.

“The charges are false and misleading,” Randolph’s agent and attorney Raymond Brothers told The Associated Press. “We’re looking at all options to resolve this matter.”

He has been arrested not convicted

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It is really important that fans remember that Randolph has been charged with crimes not convicted. Because he is such a high profile person, there is a tendency to assume guilt rather than wait for the trail process to play itself out.

Does the situation look bad? It looks horrible, but that still does not mean Randolph is guilty. He deserves his day in court.

What about his future with the Kings and the NBA?

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Zach Randolph Photo: bet.com

The Kings have acknowledged that they are aware of the situation but the team is withholding any statement at this time which is not surprising.

If Randolph is found guilty of involvement with marijuana, he would also face sanctions from the NBA for violating the league policy on drug use.

The Kings have to make some big decisions in a short period of time

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Vlade Divac Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Kings signed Randolph — a 16-year NBA veteran — to be a mentor “on toughness” for their young players. The question the Kings must answer quickly is whether they still want Randolph to mentor their four rookies, three second-year players and other young members of their team.

This not a situation that vice president and general manager Vlade Divac and head coach Dave Joerger were planning on having to deal with as they prepare for the upcoming season.

Photo of Randolph leaving jail taken from TMZ Sports video

The other shoe just dropped in the Matt Barnes – DeMarcus Cousins NYC club fight story

by Charlie O. Mallonee

barnes-nyc
Photo NY Daily News

If you are old enough to remember the movie “All the President’s Men” which chronicled the infamous break-in of the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate office complex, the key informant – “Deep Throat” – told the two young investigative reporters “to follow the money”. When unusual events happen to famous people or organizations, Deep Throat’s advice is usually a very solid approach to uncovering the truth – “follow the money”.

According to TMZ Sports, two of the people involved in the melee at The Avenue nightclub in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City early on Monday morning have filed lawsuits against Sacramento Kings players Matt Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins was known to have been present during the incident but had not been the subject of the alleged violence that took place inside the club. Only Barnes had been mentioned as a possible suspect in the fight.

TMZ is reporting that Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell have filed suit against Barnes and Cousins claiming they were “brutalized” by the players.

The lawsuit reportedly breaks the events down as follows:

  • Besiso and Powell claim they were just “hanging out” when Barnes came up to Besiso and started to choke her
  • Powell says he then tried to intervene to stop the attack and that is when Cousins became involved and punched him in the face
  • After Powell was struck, Barnes supposedly released Besiso and elbowed her in the face, knocking her unconscious
  • Myrone says he taken to the ground and Barnes and Cousins kicked and punched him in the head and body
  • NYPD was called and responded but Barnes and Cousins were gone by the time the authorities arrived
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Photo: NY Daily News

The “victims” rep says it was a serious situation

  • The alleged victims representative called the incident a “vicious and unprovoked attack” according to TMZ
  • The same spokesperson called Cousins’ first involvement a “blindside punch”
  • The rep also stated the two persons who are suing were taken to hospital by ambulance and treated for what they called serious injuries – which were not specified

The defendants also had something to say

  • A representative for Matt Barnes had stated earlier that Barnes and his party were attacked after he accidentally bumped a person in the club’s VIP section
  • Barnes himself has encouraged everyone to understand there are two sides to every story
  • Cousins or any of his representatives have yet to make a statement concerning the incident

No charges have been filed in NYC

  • Initial reports had the NYPD ready to charge Barnes as the assailant based on video it had obtained – presumably from security cameras inside the club
  • That informantion was given to TMZ Sports by a person who was “not authorized” to speak about the situation
  • There have also been unconfirmed reports that Barnes was in communication with NYPD before leaving the city for Dallas
  • The fact that no charges have been filed yet does not mean none will be filed – it is truly a wait and see situation while the incident is investigated
  • Obviously, a lawsuit would be enhanced if criminal charges were brought forward and a some type of a guilty verdict or plea resulted from those charges

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The Kings have still issued just one statement related to this event

“We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”

How long will the NBA remain silent?

  • Do not mistake silence for complacency – you can take it to the bank that NBA security is actively investigating this situation as you read this article
  • Naturally the NBA wants to give the NYPD room to do its criminal investigation and is hoping that no legal charges will be filed as a result of this incident
  • Even if no criminal charges are brought forward that does not mean Barnes and Cousins are out of the woods with “the Association”
  • The NBA standards of acceptable behavior may well be above what is acceptable by the laws of the State of New York – this entire event may well have negative results for Barnes, Cousins and the Kings even criminal charges and civil lawsuits are avoided

Post incident video

TMZ has posted video that it says was taken outside the club just after the events transpired. You can view the video at http://www.tmz.com/category/tmzsports 

Matt Barnes wanted by NYC Police for assault in night club

by Charlie O. Mallonee

TMZ Sports was the first to release news that Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes was involved in an incident in a New York City area night club early Monday morning.

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Barnes was in the club with teammate DeMarcus Cousins. According to the story, Barnes became involved in some sort of altercation with a woman in the club and the woman was choked by Barnes. Another man and woman tried to intervene and were reportedly punched by Barnes.

Per the TMZ story, video they obtained that shows Barnes and Cousins after the fight has the Kings center talking about hitting one of the people involved in the altercation.

http://www.tmz.com/2016/12/05/matt-barnes-bar-fight/?adid=hero1

In USA Today’s report on the altercation, they state the video obtained by investigators shows Barnes as being the assailant in the assault of the women and the man. The statement on the video content came from a source not authorized to release information on the contents of the evidence.

Barnes made a statement via Instagram that “there are two sides to every story.”

“We continue to cooperate fully with authorities,” said Barnes’ attorney Alex Spiro.

The Sacramento Kings issued the following statement on Monday:

“We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”

The Kings have a game in Dallas on Wednesday night with the Mavericks. Will Matt Barnes be with the team? That is open to question at this time.

What is not open to question is this is exactly the kind of situation the Kings did not at this time based on what is happening with the franchise on the floor.