Timberwolves assistant Rick Brunson resigns amid reports of misconduct with women

Rick Brunson resigned from the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday amid reports of improper encounters with women while he was an assistant coach. (AP)
Rick Brunson resigned from the Minnesota Timberwolves Tuesday amid reports of improper encounters with women while he was an assistant coach. (AP)

Minnesota Timberwolves assistant head coach Rick Brunson has resigned, the team announced Tuesday.

Shortly after the announcement, multiple reports surfaced alleging that Brunson’s departure happened in the wake of an investigation into allegations of improper conduct toward women.

Timberwolves reportedly spoke to multiple women accusing Rick Brunson of improper conduct

The Athletic reports an incident that allegedly happened during the playoffs involving a woman who lodged a complaint about Brunson and is not part of the team. The woman alleges that Brunson made multiple unwanted advances toward her during home games against the Houston Rockets.

The investigation reportedly played a part in Brunson’s eventual resignation from his post.

The Athletic also reports that the Timberwolves interviewed two other women who acknowledged interactions with Brunson they deemed “out of the ordinary” since he joined the team two years ago but did not feel compelled to file formal complaints.

ESPN reports that one of the women alleging improper conduct by Brunson is a member of the media.

The Timberwolves addressed the allegations after the reports went public.

“Our entire organization — made up of the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Minnesota Lynx and Iowa Wolves — is deeply committed to creating a safe work environment for our employees, partners and fans. Our teams strive to have our actions reflect our values each and every day. We work to maintain high standards of conduct and expect our staff to lead by example. We did not believe Mr. Brunson’s conduct was consistent with those standards.”

Brunson joined the Timberwolves staff when head coach Tom Thibodeau took the job in 2016. He was also a member of Thibodeau’s staff with the Chicago Bulls.

Rick Brunson’s attorney denies reported allegations

Brunson’s attorney Alan Milstein told the New York Daily News that the reports of misconduct are not accurate.

“Contrary to erroneous reports, there have been no findings of any wrongdoing by Rick as any proper investigation by the Timberwolves would have shown,” Milstein said.

The Daily News reports that Brunson filed a February complaint of his own with the Timberwolves’ human resources department alleging he was being harassed about a social media post.

“Unfortunately, all of the allegations against Mr. Brunson followed his complaint,” Milstein told the Daily News.

Rick Brunson has a previous sexual abuse allegation

Brunson was charged with sexual abuse in Illinois in 2014 after a woman told police that he grabbed her arm, pulled her shirt down and tried to force her to perform a sex act.

Brunson testified that the relationship with the woman, a masseuse at a fitness center, was consensual and that the alleged incident was part of an ongoing extramarital affair.

A judge acquitted Brunson, citing a lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt for the allegations.

Brunson, 45, played in the NBA for several teams as a point guard from 1997-2006. His son Jalen Brunson was the consensus National Player of the Year for the NCAA champion Villanova Wildcats last season.

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