The timing of this doesn’t appear to be a coincidence. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election for a third term next year.
“It was an incredibly difficult choice, but one that I feel confident about,” Johnson wrote in a statement e-mailed to the Sacramento Bee and later posted on Twitter. “As I’m sure there will be much speculation on this, let me proactively say that I am not leaving for another specific job or position. While there are many intriguing opportunities out there (and I’m excited to explore them) I honestly don’t know what’s next for me.”
Statement on decision not to seek reelection. pic.twitter.com/eQrxNc0y7T
— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) October 21, 2015
Johnson, a former Phoenix Suns point guard and NBA All-Star, has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks due to a series of articles by Deadspin calling attention to his involvement with the African American Mayors Association, misuse of public funds, and the revisiting of a case from 20 years ago in which a then-16-year-old girl accused him of sexual abuse. The woman also alleged that Johnson paid her $230,000 to stay quiet about a police investigation into the matter. (Johnson was never charged with a crime by Phoenix law enforcement.)
In light of the story bringing these allegations to light and renewing interest in the case, ESPN pulled a 30 For 30 documentary titled Down in the Valley which detailed the effort to block the Sacramento Kings from relocating. The film was originally scheduled to air Oct. 20, but its only public showing was a local screening in Sacramento on Oct. 12.
Johnson was elected as Sacramento mayor in 2008 and won re-election to office four years later.