When Outside The Lines released their report on Michigan State last Friday, there were many at the university that were singled out for various reasons. One person, however, received more attention than most.
Travis Walton, who played at MSU for head coach Tom Izzo from 2005-09, was accused of being involved in two separate incidents. The first was an alleged assault against a woman in an East Lansing bar – the second, his involvement in the rape of a woman.
In the OTL report, Walton denied both allegations. He called the assault case “false allegations,” according to OTL, and didn’t remember the second allegation.
Walton seemed surprised by the rape allegation when Outside the Lines asked him for comment about it last week: “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.
Tuesday, Walton released a full statement regarding the story. Walton, who is currently on administrative leave from the NBA G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers, used PR firm Near Perfect Media for the statement.
Travis Walton just released this statement: pic.twitter.com/D2uXQmHLOA— Mike Sullivan (@MikeSullivan) January 30, 2018
Specific to both allegations, Walton’s statement read:
I never physically assaulted a woman at an East Lansing establishment, as alleged. While conversing with her, and without notice or provocation, she threw a drink at me, and I subsequently left the establishment. Two written statements from independent, objective witnesses were given to the City Attorney, and support my innocence. Ultimately, the determination to resolve the case was based on the merits of the investigation.
I have never been charged with sexual assault and, to my knowledge, the alleged sexual assault was never reported to Michigan State University or the police. My encounters with this woman were more than just a single occasion, and my actions with her were always consensual.
Walton finished the statement by apologizing to his “Spartan family,” the Clippers organization and his friends and family for “the negative attention that this has brought.”
After the initial story was published, an OTL reporter attempted to address Izzo following MSU’s game against Maryland. During the press conference, reporter Tisha Thompson repeatedly asked Izzo about Walton’s involvement with the program immediately following the 2010 allegations. The head coach first simply said Walton left the team because he graduated. When pressed, he said “To be honest with you, I don’t remember why he left. I know he want to Europe to play.”
Izzo then twice repeated that he has cooperated with every investigation so far and will continue to do so, before ending the line of questions.