Travis Walton, one of the former Michigan State players at the center of the controversy regarding the men’s basketball program and how the university potentially mishandled cases of sexual and physical assault in 2010, denied any misconduct Tuesday.
Walton released a statement claiming allegations against him of physically assaulting a woman at a bar, and in a separate incident, being accused of sexual assault in an ESPN report from last week are false. Both allegations date back to 2010. Walton’s statement was shared by Mike Sullivan, who works for 97.1 The Ticket, a sports radio station in Detroit.
Here is Walton’s statement:
“Over the last several days, allegations have been made about me during my tenure at Michigan State University. In this case, the facts are:
- I was never hired or fired by Michigan State University. In January of 2010, I was enrolled at Michigan State University, taking the necessary classes to complete my degree. Upon graduation, I returned to Europe to continue my basketball career.
- 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.
I stand by these facts, and will defend myself to the extent that the law allows.
I apologize for the negative attention this has brought my Spartan family, the Clippers organization, and my family and friends.”
Walton was charged in the bar incident with assault and battery but the case was dismissed in April 2010. He wound up pleading guilty to a littering civil infraction. At the time, he was not a player for the Spartans, but rather serving in a support role on coach Tom Izzo’s staff. Walton’s playing career ended in April 2009. He was a three-year captain with the team.
ESPN’s report also addressed previously reported sexual assault allegations against former players Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, both of whom were freshmen at the time of their incident. Payne is yet to comment, while Appling is quoted in ESPN’s story saying, “It was consensual” and that had the woman alleging sexual assault asked to stop, “I would have completely granted her wishes. We’re not even those type of guys. We wouldn’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable around us.”
On Friday, the Los Angeles Clippers placed Walton on leave. Walton has been an assistant coach for the Clippers’ G League affiliate since 2017. Payne was released from his two-way contract by the Orlando Magic on Friday night, while Appling is serving a one-year jail sentence for a gun charge that was handed down in July 2017.