Former Spurs Psychologist Sues Team, Says Josh Primo Exposed Himself to Her 9 Times

It's the latest in a number of sexual misconduct scandals currently plaguing the NBA.

Former Spurs Psychologist Sues Team, Says Josh Primo Exposed Himself to Her 9 Times
Photo:Getty Images

On Thursday morning, Dr. Hillary Cauthen, a former team psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs, filed a lawsuit alleging the organization “ignored her repeated reports of indecent exposure” by Josh Primo, a former Spurs player who was waived, or removed from the team’s roster, last week. According to the suit, Primo exposed himself to Cauthen nine times, occurring first during a psychological session with Primo in December 2021. Cauthen says she reported the incident to the Spurs management in January, but nothing ever came of her reports.

“Rather than act on Dr. Cauthen’s reports, the Spurs ignored her complaints, hoping the organization could ignore and then cover up Primo’s actions,” Cauthen’s lawsuit states. “The Spurs organization was willing to sacrifice Dr. Cauthen to keep what they hoped would one day be a star player.”

According to Cauthen, the Spurs only took action after “Primo’s conduct entered the public sphere” when reports first surfaced about the alleged harassment, and the team was “forced to act and release Primo.”

“The Spurs’ recent actions with regard to Primo are too little, too late,” the lawsuit says. “The Spurs’ public statement about Primo’s departure is a complete farce. The Spurs’ conduct sends a strong message that they, like other major sports organizations, are willing to tolerate abhorrent conduct on the part of athletes and sacrifice loyal employees, so long as the athlete is successful on the court.”

In an interview with the Associated Press, one of Cauthen’s attorneys, Tony Buzbee, said his client plans to file a criminal complaint “for multiple counts of indecent exposure against Mr. Primo,” and he expects “the authorities to prosecute.”

An attorney for Primo has since responded to the lawsuit with a statement dripping with victim-blaming language and even ageism: “In an act of betrayal against her young client, Dr. Cauthen, who is 40 years old, falsely claims Josh Primo exposed himself to her during the course of her numerous therapy sessions,” attorney William J. Briggs statement said. “Dr. Cauthen’s allegations are either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy. Josh Primo never intentionally exposed himself to her or anyone else and was not even aware that his private parts were visible outside of his workout shorts.”

The statement continues, “She is much older than Mr. Primo, with many years of experience as a sports psychologist. It is baffling why she did not bother to tell her patient that his private parts were visible underneath his shorts.”

The almost Trumpian insinuation is that acts of sexual misconduct are rooted in desirability and attraction rather than abuse and control, and at 40, Cauthen is too old to be a desirable victim. Following Brigg’s “logic,” the clinical psychologist is also, apparently, too stupid to distinguish a sexual violation from misfitted men’s shorts.

All in all, it’s been a pretty miserable week to be a woman and an NBA fan. Despite reports that the Boston Celtics’ former head coach Ime Udoka allegedly used inappropriate language toward multiple women employed by the Celtics, he remains the current frontrunner to become the new head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. (Yes—that would be the same Nets organization currently plagued with controversy as one of its star players spreads anti-Semitic messages on social media.) Mallory Edens, daughter of the Milwaukee Bucks’ owner and a popular sports media commentator, called the move “disappointing.” “When are we going to start taking the task of creating safe and healthy work environments for women in professional sports organizations seriously?” she wrote in a Tuesday tweet.

Equally disappointing, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, who’s emerged as a leading progressive voice within the league, publicly celebrated news Udoka may be the Nets’ next coach. He told the Boston Globe on Thursday that he was “just happy to see a Black head coach end up back on his feet,” and that it would have been “awesome” if Udoka had been able to rejoin the Celtics.

From Cauthen’s allegations that the Spurs buried her reports to Udoka landing unscathed at the Nets, the NBA is sending a pretty clear message that women aren’t welcome in the workplace.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin