Another Day, Another Case of Sexual Misconduct Involving a Professional Athlete in Texas

Nov 18, 2022

By Dr. Robert J. Romano, JD, LLM, St. John’s University, Senior Writer

Apparently (some) professional athletes in the state of Texas are unaware, never heard of, or simply just don’t care about sexual assault, women’s rights, or the MeToo Movement in general.

First, from the fall of 2019 through March 2021, former Houston Texans Quarterback Deshaun Watson, during twenty-two different massage sessions, allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct ranging from exposing himself to pressuring therapists into performing oral sex.[1] Watson’s alleged acts led to two criminal investigations, twenty-four civil lawsuits, and millions of dollars being paid to settle those matters.

Not to be outdone, former San Antonio Spurs first round draft pick, Josh Primo, purportedly exposed himself to the team’s psychologist, Dr. Hillary Cauthen, on nine separate occasions, resulting in both the player and organization being sued in Texas State Court.[2]

On November 3, 2022, Dr. Cauthen filed a civil lawsuit with the District Court of Bexar County, Texas, wherein she alleges negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress against both of the defendants. Dr. Cauthen, a licensed clinical psychologist, who began working for the San Antonio franchise in September 2021, claims that she first reported to the Spurs’ front office that Josh Primo exposed himself to her in January 2022, but the organization ignored both her complaints and request for a meeting, hoping, as she asserts, that the matter ‘would just go away’.[3] After finally securing an appointment to discuss any and all concerns surrounding the young player’s alleged sexual misconduct with Spurs General Manager Brian Wright on March 21, 2022, an agreement was supposedly reached to ‘develop a plan’ that would address the player’s behavior. However, according to Dr. Cauthen’s complaint, after this and several other meetings with various members of the Spurs organization, including the deputy general counsel and the head of human resources, no corrective measures were taken.[4] Instead, Dr. Cauthen was asked to continue treating Primo up until July 2022, when, at such time, the legal department informed Dr. Cauthen that the front office thought ‘she was unable to do her job in a professional manner due to what was now a lack of trust between her and the team.’[5] Subsequently, when Dr. Cauthen’s contract ended in August 2022, the team did not renew it for the upcoming season.

Although the Spurs organization apparently turned a blind eye to Dr. Cauthen’s complaints, what did cause the team to finally react and release its 2021 draft pick only came after additional allegations of the player exposing himself surfaced when the team traveled to Minnesota to play the Timberwolves. Interestingly, and what may not be the smartest of business moves since the front office was well aware of Primo’s proclivities, two weeks prior to releasing him, the Spurs picked up his third-year option, guaranteeing him $4.1 million for the 2022-23 season and $4.3 million for the 2023-24 season.[6]

The Spurs organization, in responding to the lawsuit stated ‘We disagree with the accuracy of facts, details and timeline presented today. While we would like to share more information, we will allow the legal process to play out.’[7] However, Josh Primo’s private attorney, William J. Briggs II, was more straightforward and direct when he stated that his client ‘never intentionally exposed himself to Dr. Cauthen or any other person.’[8] He continued with his aggressive defense of his client by victim blaming, stating ‘that his client was not aware his genitals were visible outside of his workout shorts, nor did Dr. Cauthen tell him they were.’[9] (Cannot wait to see how that defense holds up in front of a jury). However, the attorney’s condemnation of the filed lawsuit did not end there, he doubled down by declaring that, ‘Dr. Cauthen’s allegations are either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy.’[10] That being said, a criminal complaint accusing Josh Primo of multiple counts of indecent exposure has been filed with Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.


[1] https://www.nytimes.com/article/deshaun-watson-sexual-assault-lawsuit.html

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2022/nov/03/joshua-primo-lawsuit-indecent-exposure-allegations-san-antonio-spurs-nba-basketball

[3] Hillary Cauthen vs Josuha Primo, Cause No. 2022 CI21718.

[4] Hillary Cauthen vs Josuha Primo, Cause No. 2022 CI21718.

[5] Id. at p. 6.

[6] https://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/pelicans-jose-alvarado-is-still-sneaking-up-on-the-nba-he-just-plays-fierce/

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/sports/basketball/josh-primo-spurs-allegations.html

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

[10] Id.