Spurs, Josh Primo Agree 'To Resolve' Former Female Employee's Lawsuit
By Jason Hall
November 17, 2022
The San Antonio Spurs, former guard Josh Primo and former team psychologist Dr. Hillary Cauthen "have agreed to resolve" a lawsuit in which Cauthen alleged that the team had ignored her repeated reports of indecent exposure committed by Primo during her tenure, her attorney, Tony Buzbee, told The Athletic's Shams Charania on Thursday (November 17).
"Former Spurs psychologist Hillary Cauthen, the team and guard Josh Primo 'have agreed to resolve' Cauthen’s lawsuits against both parties, her attorney Tony Buzbee confirms," Charania tweeted.
Spurs CEO RC Buford issued a statement in response to the decision to settle the lawsuit, which was re-shared by Charania.
Former Spurs psychologist Hillary Cauthen, the team and guard Josh Primo “have agreed to resolve” Cauthen’s lawsuits against both parties, her attorney Tony Buzbee confirms.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 17, 2022
"The situation regarding Josh Primo is a matter we take seriously," Buford said. "Since learning of the allegations, we have taken, and are taking, measures to ensure that all parties involved are treated with dignity and respect. We know we owe that to Dr. Cauthen, our players, our staff and our community.
"As an organization, we are continuously evaluating and refining our processes so they ultimately reflect the values and culture of who we aspire to be every day. To that end, we have decided to collaborate with Dr. Cauthen and other experts in an effort to review and improve our workplace processes and procedures.
"This is a learning opportunity for us, and one that we are certain will make us better moving forward."
Spurs CEO RC Buford statement after the team resolved its lawsuit with former team psychologist Hillary Cauthen: “… We have decided to collaborate with Dr. Cauthen and other experts in an effort to review and improve our workplace processes and procedures.” pic.twitter.com/YCSakYyJX8— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 17, 2022
Earlier this month, Dr. Cauthen went public with accusations against Primo claiming the guard had exposed himself to her nine times dating back to the initial incident during a psychological session in December 2021, which she first reported to Spurs management in January 2022, according to the lawsuit filed in Bexar County, Texas.
"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," the lawsuit stated via ESPN. "The Spurs organization was willing to sacrifice Dr. Cauthen to keep what they hoped would one day be a star player.
"Once Primo's conduct entered the public sphere, the Spurs were forced to act and release Primo. The Spurs' recent actions with regard to Primo are too little, too late. 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."
Buzbee -- who is also the attorney for the more than 20 women who've alleged sexual misconduct against suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson -- claimed his client would seek a criminal complaint with multiple counts of indecent exposure filed against Primo in Bexar County, ESPN reported at the time.
"Josh Primo's conduct is well outside of the bounds of what is normal and acceptable," Buzbee said. "His conduct shocks the conscience. I would also say that the Spurs' conduct, the way they handled this conduct, was egregious and absolutely unreasonable."
Cauthen was hired by Spurs in April 2021 and her contract was not renewed at the time of its expiration in August 2022.
Buzbee accused Spurs general manager Brian Wright, as well as the team's deputy general counsel and head of human relations, of failing to appropriately respond when informed by Cauthen of the allegations against Primo, claiming that the team told her in June that longtime head coach Gregg Popovich was aware of the issue, to which Buzbee said, "We may have concluded here that they were lying."
Buzbee said that Spurs management told Cauthen "to sit it out" and allowed her to work from home rather than addressing the problem and that the team had "lost trust in her" at the time.
"The right thing is saying 'No, this is not okay,' to hold people accountable, to make systemic change and to protect those that suffer in silence," Cauthen said at the news conference on Thursday. "The right thing is also saying 'I'm sorry. I have failed you and we need to do better.'
"The organization I worked for has failed me. ... I spoke up. I asked for help. I gave options. My voice and my feelings, my actionable items, were silenced. Due to their inaction and protection of their assets, other individuals were impacted, and for that I am truly sorry."
Primo, who was selected by the Spurs at No. 12 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, was waived by the team days after allegations that he exposed himself to another woman during the team's road trip to Minneapolis last week and was held out of San Antonio's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves prior to his release.
Spurs CEO RC Buford said waiving the 19-year-old guard was in the "best interest of both the organization and Joshua" in a statement announcing his release at the time.