Minnesota Timberwolves’ assistant coach Rick Brunson resigned abruptly Tuesday, and that resignation came amidst a report from The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski that Brunson was facing allegations of improper actions with several women while on the job. ESPN’s Chris Haynes added that one of the women in question was a media member:
Timberwolves assistant Rick Brunson, who resigned today, was facing allegations of improper interactions with several women while on the job, @TheAthleticMIN has learned. The Athletic has reached out to the Wolves and Brunson for comment.
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) May 8, 2018
ESPN Sources: One of the women is a media member. https://t.co/HprdsjCAoR
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 8, 2018
Meanwhile, the team sent out just a single-line release accepting Brunson’s resignation:
Timberwolves announce the resignation of assistant coach Rick Brunson. pic.twitter.com/BB1Ho7qatS
— Tim Faklis (@timfaklis) May 8, 2018
This also came shortly after the team released numerous other staffers Monday, which does make it seem that Brunson’s departure wasn’t planned at that time:
NEWS: #Twolves announce Basketball Operations staff changes. Player Development Coach Vince Legarza, Shooting Coach Peter Patton and Assistant Video Coordinator Wes Bohn released from their duties. Press Release: pic.twitter.com/ms3gUXYn67
— Timberwolves PR (@Twolves_PR) May 8, 2018
Brunson, who played parts of nine seasons in the NBA in the late 90s and early 2000s with a variety of teams, previously faced charges of attempted criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse, aggravated battery and domestic battery in 2014 relating to an encounter with a massage therapist in Chicago suburb Vernon Hills. He was acquitted of those charges in a bench trial in 2015, and said he was having an affair with the woman in question, the actions in question were consensual, and her claims were “all about money, financial gain.”
Those charges led to Brunson not getting an assistant coaching job at Temple, though. Instead, he was hired by the Timberwolves in 2016. Previously, he’d held NBA assistant jobs with the Bulls (2010-12) and Hornets (2012-13). Brunson’s son Jalen just won a NCAA title with Villanova and has declared for the NBA draft and been invited to the combine.
There have been numerous other recent cases of coaches and others who have lost their jobs after allegations of improper interactions with other staffers or media members. The ongoing investigation into sexual harassment and improper workplace behavior with the Carolina Panthers has led to owner Jerry Richardson looking to sell the team, and to defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigning after he was accused of sexual harassment. Former Dallas Mavericks’ president Terdema Ussery was also accused of workplace sexual harassment this year, and other allegations around the Mavericks led to the firing of the HR director and of Mavs.com staff writer Earl K. Sneed. Elsewhere, Cal fired basketball assistant Yann Hufnagel in March 2016 after he was accused of sexual harassment by a female reporter; he was hired by Nevada the next month after an investigation, but mutually parted ways with that school after the 2016-17 season.
We’ll update this story with more details as they emerge.