Spurred by the revelations from an ESPN report that levied disturbing allegations against former Michigan State player and student assistant coach Travis Walton, among others, the Los Angeles Clippers have placed the former Spartan on leave according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Los Angeles Clippers have placed Travis Walton, an assistant coach with team’s G-League affiliate, on administrative leave “pending further investigation.” Walton has emerged as part of the Michigan State basketball probe.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 26, 2018
Walton is an assistant coach for the Clippers’ G-League team, the Agua Caliente Clippers.
According to Paula Lavigne’s ESPN investigative report, Walton was involved in a pair of violent incidents during his tenure as a graduate assistant coach for Michigan State, and both were essentially swept under the rug.
Lavigne’s report outlined the school’s indifference toward its pervasive culture of sexual harassment and impropriety by members of the football and basketball program. In 2009, while on the Spartans staff, Walton was arrested for punching a woman in the face while at a bar.
ON JAN. 16, 2010, Michigan State junior Ashley Thompson and her friends met at an East Lansing bar to memorialize a friend who had died in a car crash. While the group sought comfort by being together, Thompson did not feel like socializing with strangers.
Travis Walton, who a year prior had helped lead Michigan State to the 2009 national championship basketball game and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, approached Thompson’s table.
“He started speaking with us, and I’m like, ‘I’m sorry. Can you just give us a moment?'” Thompson told Outside the Lines. “And he was like, ‘You don’t know who I am?’ And I was like, ‘I really don’t care who you are.’ And he kind of got angry at that point, and I told him to not-so-politely F-off.”
She says Walton — who at the time was an undergraduate student assistant coach under Tom Izzo — instantly became angry.
“I barely got the words out of my mouth, and he came across and he struck me on the right side of my face,” she says. “I kind of reached back toward him, and I didn’t make contact, and then that’s when he swung with a second reach and hit me on the left side of my face and hit me so hard that it knocked me backwards off of my barstool.”
At the time, Walton called it a ‘false accusation’ and agreed to a plea deal, but later on that year, he was implicated in the rape of another female student. The woman did not report her sexual assault to the authorities, but her parents contacted the athletic department and athletic director Mark Hollis. Walton was reportedly let go, but obviously the incident did not hamper his professional aspirations until Friday when the public became aware of his alleged transgressions.
When approached by Outside the Lines last week, Walton expressed surprise and gave a different version of events.
“I don’t recall anything from that. Wow.” He says he didn’t coach at Michigan State in the fall of 2010 because he returned to playing professional basketball, in Europe.
A new @E60 and Outside the Lines investigation reveals MSU’s Tom Izzo allowed student assistant coach Travis Walton to continue with the team despite pending criminal charges for punching a female student in the face. pic.twitter.com/dGHpzY8rOI
— Outside The Lines (@OTLonESPN) January 26, 2018
– – – – – – –