The Latest: Ex-Michigan State player Walton defends himself
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) The Latest on the fallout at Michigan State from Larry Nassar scandal (all times local):
Former Michigan State basketball player Travis Walton is defending himself after ESPN reported he was named in a sexual assault report and had assault and battery charges dismissed in 2010. At the time, Walton’s four-year career as a guard with the Spartans was over and he was assisting Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo while taking classes to graduate.
Walton says in a statement sent to The Associated Press he had multiple consensual encounters with a woman, who accused him of rape. Walton says he never hit a woman as alleged in a bar, where he says she threw a drink at him.
The Los Angeles Clippers, who employ him as an assistant coach with their minor league team, put Walton on administrative leave last week.
Walton apologizes for the negative attention the story has brought to Michigan State, the Clippers, his family and friends.
One of Michigan State’s corporate sponsors chose not to have its logo behind Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio during recent news conferences.
Auto-Owners Insurance spokesman Trevor Mahoney tells The Associated Press Tuesday: ”The company does not believe it is currently appropriate to place advertising branding on media backdrops used during discussions of serious topics that have impacted the lives of many,” on Tuesday.
Izzo and Dantonio, the Spartans’ basketball and football coaches, spoke to reporters about their scrutinized programs last Friday in front of a green backdrop adorned with ”Michigan State” and the school’s logo in white.
Both addressed an ESPN report detailing how they have handled sexual assault complaints. Izzo says he has always cooperated with investigations and will in the future. Dantonio insists he has always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with sexual assault allegations.
Izzo, a Hall of Famer, will likely face more questions on Wednesday night after his fifth-ranked hosts plays Penn State.
Nassar, a former Michigan State doctor, was sentenced last week to decades in prison for young female athletes.