Rapper Nelly, who owns a small percentage of the Charlotte Hornets, was arrested in the Seattle area early Saturday following an accusation of rape.
Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes, Jr., was performing at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn, Wash., with country music’s Florida Georgia Line. A woman called police at approximately 3:45 a.m. local time to say she had been sexually assaulted on Nelly’s tour bus, Auburn police said.
Nelly was booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree rape, and released later in the day, police said.
Nelly’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, told the Associated Press the accusation is false, and motivated by “greed and vindictiveness.”
“I am confident, once this scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges. Nelly is prepared to address and pursue all legal avenues to redress any damage caused by this clearly false allegation,” Rosenblum said in an email.
The Hornets declined comment on Nelly’s arrest Saturday.
Nelly, 42, was part of the original ownership group formed by founder Bob Johnson in 2004, when this expansion team was called the Charlotte Bobcats. In the spring of 2010, Johnson sold controlling interest to Michael Jordan.
An NBA source described Nelly’s percentage of the Hornets as very small, adding he does not take an active role in the Hornets’ operation. The Hornets’ media guide for the 2015-16 season listed Les King, an executive of Nelly, Inc., as the rapper’s representative in the ownership group.
Nelly, like all team owners regardless of the size of their investment, would have had to be vetted and approved by the NBA office in New York.
Nelly is a three-time Grammy winner, including for the song “Hot in Herre,” which won the best male rap solo performance award in 2002. Nelly is also known for the hits “My Place” and “Over and Over.” He appeared in the 2005 film “The Longest Yard.”
The following year he shared a Grammy for the song “Shake Ya Tailfeather” with Murphy Lee and Sean Combs.
The (Tacoma, Wash.) News Tribune and Associated Press contributed.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell