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Magic waive Adreian Payne, who was implicated in Michigan State scandal

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Michigan State allowed a culture in which Larry Nassar used his position as a doctor treating athletes to molest girls and young women for decades.

He might not have been the only one to take advantage of Michigan State’s athletic culture, and allegations are now reaching the NBA.

The Clippers placed minor-league assistant coach Travis Walton on administrative leave after an ESPN report detailed accusations of him hitting one woman and raping another. Those alleged incidents occurred in 2010 while Walton was an assistant coach at Michigan State, following his time playing for the Spartans.

The report also detailed rape allegations against Adreian Payne and Keith Appling while they played at Michigan State. The Magic waived Payne, on a two-way contract, shortly after the report. Appling, who previously played for Orlando, was already out of the league after being jailed for gun offenses.

Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren of ESPN:

A FEW MONTHS later, on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, a different MSU student — Carolyn Schaner — and a friend walked into the campus police department and told investigators about an incident that had occurred the night before.

Schaner had moved into Wonders Hall that weekend and attended an orientation meeting. Though she did not know who they were, she saw top basketball recruits Adreian Payne and Keith Appling during the orientation, but she did not speak to them. Later that evening, Schaner ran into them in the dorm’s lobby and talked with them before she accepted an invitation to go back to their room, where the three started playing miniature basketball. The two men began taking their clothes off with each missed basket, but Schaner told police she refused to take off any more than her T-shirt, under which she was wearing a sports bra. She told police the two men ended up cornering her and turning off the lights. She told police she felt trapped and fearful of refusing their advances.

Appling, she told police, removed her underwear, and then the two men pulled her to the ground and started penetrating her vaginally, anally and orally. She told police that she said to the men, “I don’t want it,” “stop” and “don’t.”

In a video interview obtained by Outside the Lines, Payne told detectives that Schaner had indicated she wanted to leave.

According to a police report, Payne told officers that he could “understand how she would feel that she was not free to leave.” Payne was concerned about her reaction to the circumstances and had even asked Appling to apologize to her, the report stated. Payne told officers that he had apologized to Schaner because “it seemed she felt that they ‘disrespected’ her.” ESPN does not typically identify people who report acts of sexual violence, but Schaner sought to publicly reveal her identity.

Appling did not talk to detectives at the time, but he granted a phone interview with Outside the Lines late last year while he was in jail near Detroit serving time for a weapons charge.

“It was consensual,” he says, adding that he never heard Schaner say “no” or “stop.” “Had that been the case, 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.”

Schaner says campus police investigators told her that, because of Payne’s police interview, they had a solid case to pursue. Once the case was forwarded from police to Ingham County prosecutors, Schaner was interviewed by an assistant prosecutor, Debra Rousseau Martinez. Schaner says Martinez told her she did not seem strong enough to stand up to questioning that would come as a result of making allegations against MSU basketball players.

No charges were filed in the case. The assistant prosecutor, Martinez, now works for Michigan State’s Title IX office. She declined to comment on Schaner’s case.

Magic:

https://twitter.com/Magic_PR/status/957244436316065793

Why is Orlando waiving him now? It was reported in 2010 two Michigan State basketball players were accused of sexual assault. In 2014, a federal investigation examined the incident. It was known enough in Michigan that Payne and Appling were the accused. Did the Magic not do enough diligence before signing Payne? Do they care about having accused rapists on their team, or do they care only about having heavily discussed accused rapists on their team? Should the distinction matter?

Payne wasn’t charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. Should this accusation still prevent him from playing in the NBA? What jobs should he be allowed to hold?

Rape is obviously bad, and that notion is being treated as a given more than ever before – a positive development. But waiving Payne is a simple solution to a complex issue.

Report: Mike Woodson close to joining Suns coaching staff

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The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.

Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.

Via Twitter:

Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.

This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.

With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.

Andre Iguodala out for Game 4 Tuesday vs. Rockets

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“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”

That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.

This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.

Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.

Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.

 

WNBA team rehearses ring ceremony at practice of team it beat in Finals

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The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.

The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.

Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.