A former clinical psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs filed a lawsuit Thursday morning alleging that the organization “ignored its repeated reports of inappropriate exposure” by Joshua PrimoThe 2021 lottery pick that the team launched last week.
According to the lawsuit, Primo exposed himself to Dr. Hilary Cawthen a total of nine times. The first incident allegedly occurred during a psychiatric session with Primo in December 2021 and was reported to the Spurs management in January 2022.
The lawsuit, filed in Bexar County, Texas, states that “instead of acting as per Dr Cawthen’s reports, Spurs ignored her complaints, hoping that the organization would ignore and then cover up Primo’s actions.” “The Spurs organization was willing to sacrifice Dr Cawthen to preserve what they hoped would one day be a star player.
“Once Primo’s behavior entered the public domain, he forced Spurs to act and release Primo. Spurs’ recent actions in relation to Primo have been too little, too late. Spurs’ public statement about Primo’s departure is a complete farce. The behavior sends a strong message that they, like major sporting organisations, are The other, willing to put up with abhorrent behavior on the part of the athletes and sacrifice loyal staff, so long as the athlete is successful on the court.”
Primo’s attorney William J. Briggs made the allegations in a statement.
“In betrayal of her young client, 40-year-old Dr. Cawthen erroneously claimed that Josh Primo exposed himself to her during numerous therapy sessions,” Briggs’ statement said. “Dr. Cawthen’s allegations are either complete fabrication, gross embellishment, or sheer fantasy. Josh Primo did not intentionally identify himself to her or anyone else nor was he even aware that his private organs were visible outside of his workout shorts.
“What makes the allegations less credible is that Dr. Cawthen never told her patient about the alleged exposure. Dr Cawthen was a mental health support provider for Mr. Primo and a close writer; a therapist that Mr. Primo trusted. She is much older than Mr. Primo. Primo, with many years of experience As a sports psychologist. It’s baffling why she didn’t bother telling her patient that his genitals were visible under his pants.”
Cothen’s lawyer, Tony Busby, said Cawthen intends to file a criminal complaint against Primo.
Primo, ranked No. 12 in the 2021 draft, was released on Friday, less than three weeks after Spurs exercised a third-year team option guaranteeing a $4.3 million salary for the 2023-24 season.
RC Buford, Tottenham’s chief executive, noted “the best interests of both the organization and Joshua” in a statement from the team announcing his release.
According to Busby, Primo was waived just days after exposing himself to another woman during Tottenham’s trip to Minnesota last week, when Primo was suspended for losing to San Antonio. Buzbee said Primo also committed an indecent exposure in Las Vegas in July while in the NBA Summer League.
“Josh Primo’s behavior is outside the bounds of what is normal and acceptable,” Busby said at a news conference Thursday morning in his Houston office. “His behavior shocks the conscience. I would also say that the behavior of Spurs, and the way they handled this behavior, was absolutely awful and unreasonable.”
Buzbee, who also represents the women who alleged sexual assault and inappropriate sexual misconduct by the suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watsonsaid that there will be a criminal complaint on multiple counts of indecent exposure filed against Primo in Bexar County and that Cawthen will cooperate with authorities within the limits of laws regarding confidentiality between patient and psychologist.
Cawthen was appointed by Tottenham in April 2021. Her work with the organization ended when her contract was not renewed in August 2022.
Buzbee specifically cited Tottenham’s general manager Brian Wright, as well as the team’s general counsel, deputy general counsel and head of human relations, for failing to respond appropriately when Cawthen informed them of Primo’s behaviour. Busby said Cawthen was told in June that coach Greg Popovich was aware of the matter, but Busby added, “We may have concluded here that they are lying.”
Buzbee said that instead of addressing the issue with Primo, Spurs management asked Cauthen to “sit down”, telling her she could work from home and that the team had “lost trust in her”.
“The right thing to do is say ‘No, that’s not good’ to hold people accountable, to bring about systemic change, and to protect those who suffer in silence,” Cawthen said at the press conference. The right thing to do is also to say ‘I’m sorry. I let you down, and we have to do better.
“I was let down by the organization I worked for. … I spoke up. I asked for help. I was given options. My voice and my feelings, my actionable items were silenced. Because of their inaction and protection of their assets, individuals have been affected, and I am truly sorry for that.”