Joshua Primo, the shunned NBA newcomer cut amid allegations he regularly exposed himself to a team therapist, said Thursday that his accuser was using “ugly stereotypes and racially charged fears” for her own financial gain.
Primo made the bizarre claim just hours after Dr. Hillary Cauthen filed a lawsuit in Bexar County, Texas, against Primo and the San Antonio Spurs—a lawsuit in which she explicitly stated that she’s not seeking monetary damages.
Instead, Cauthen, a 40-year-old mother of four, said she wants accountability from the San Antonio Spurs, who she claims cut her from a “dream job” despite her being a victim of alleged sex crimes by their young star.
Cauthen alleged she repeatedly alerted team officials that Primo was exposing his genitals to her, and they assured her the issue was being addressed, but nothing changed.
Instead of disciplining Primo, Cauthen’s lawsuit says the Spurs covered up the alleged harassment last winter and didn’t renew her contract for the upcoming season.
“The Spurs organization was willing to sacrifice Dr. Cauthen to keep what they hoped would one day be a star player,” Cauthen’s lawsuit says. “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 did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Primo finished his rookie season with the Spurs without pause on the court. He began his second year with the team in October, still as the NBA’s youngest player at just 19.
His time in San Antonio ended on Friday, however, when the Spurs abruptly announced that he’d been cut from the team, shocking the NBA world. Both Primo and the Spurs released vague statements about his release, which raised questions about what may have happened behind the scenes.
“I know that you all are surprised by today’s announcement,” Primo told ESPN. “I’ve been seeking help to deal with previous trauma I suffered and will now take this time to focus on my mental health treatment more fully.”
But while there was an initial smokescreen publicly, it’s since come out that Primo was cut after two other women—one in Nevada, the other in Minnesota—accused him of exposing his genitals to them in recent months.
Cauthen seized on those allegations as proof that she’s telling the truth about her experience with Primo.
She alleged that Primo exposed his genitals to her nine times during extensive therapy sessions that she said were necessitated by Primo’s rough childhood.
Primo first exposed himself to Cauthen in December and she alerted team officials by January, the lawsuit said.
Primo aggressively denied these allegations in a statement from his attorney on Thursday, calling Cauthen’s lawsuit an “act of betrayal against her young client,” and saying he never purposefully exposed himself.
“Dr. Cauthen’s allegations are either a complete fabrication, a gross embellishment or utter fantasy,” the statement said. “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 said Cauthen never mentioned the alleged indecent exposure to Primo.
An unnamed source close to Primo claimed to TMZ that the allegations stemmed from a “wardrobe malfunction” that resulted from him “laying down on a couch in basketball shorts.”
Tony Buzbee, who recently represented many of Deshaun Watson’s accusers, was hired by Cauthen
“The organization I worked for has failed me… It took the Spurs 10 months to do the right thing. And that’s too long,” Cauthen said at a press conference held by Buzbee on Thursday.
Cauthen said she isn’t certain her reports of misconduct ever reached Head Coach Gregg Popovich before last month, despite team officials assuring her that they did.
Buzbee and Cauthen alluded to Primo’s potential and the Spurs’ significant investment in him—picking him 12th in the 2021 NBA Draft, guaranteeing him $12.5 million in pay—as playing a factor in their decision to defend him despite the allegations.
“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.”