San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke publicly for the first time since the team was slapped with a lawsuit over the alleged mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints.
On Friday, Popovich addressed the media at a scheduled press availability ahead of the team’s matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.
When asked if the Spurs were made aware of the allegations against former guard and first draft pick Josh Primo for exposing himself to a former team psychologist before reports surfaced, Popovich said he couldn’t discuss the details.
“I understand your question and your desire to get as many details as you can. But, as you also know, this is in the hands of lawyers now. And so, I can’t go there and I’m not gonna go there,” Popovich said. “It’s up to them. They’re gonna talk about it, they’re gonna argue about it, they’re gonna go back and forth. That’s what they do. While that’s going on, I can’t talk about details.”
The Spurs said Thursday that they disagreed with the “accuracy of facts, details and timeline” presented Thursday by Dr. Hillary Cauthen and her attorney, Tony Buzbee, but that they take the allegations seriously.
“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. Our organization remains committed to upholding the highest standards and will continue to live by our values and culture.”
Popovich said he stands by the Spurs’ statement on Thursday and believes the organization would handle allegations like this “efficiently” and “promptly.”
“I will say that I stand by the statement that came out yesterday by the Spurs organization. In contrast, to many of the things that were said at the press conference. I would only add that anybody that has observed the Spurs over a very long period of time knows that an accusation like this would be taken very seriously. Without any doubt whatsoever. No equivocation,” Popovich said. “The Spurs organization would be on top of it and I’m absolutely confident that the men and women on the managerial staff that dealt and are dealing with this did so purposefully, efficiently, promptly and did it with the utmost care for everybody concerned. The accuser, the accused, the people in the organization to make sure that everybody still felt comfortable and safe. And I just leave my comments at that.”
Cauthen, a former Spurs performance psychologist, spoke out on the lawsuit she filed against Primo and the team for allegations of indecent exposure and neglect to act on Thursday.
Primo is accused of exposing himself to Cauthen nine times total during private sessions over a 10-month period.
Cauthen claims she reported the incidents in January 2022, but no action was taken by the Spurs until August, when they decided not to renew her contract and last week when the team officially cut ties with Primo.
JUST IN: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich responds to allegations the organization covered up or did not take corrective action against Josh Primo after he was accused of exposing himself to former team psychologist Hillary Cauthen. (@tom_orsborn asked question). #ksatnews #ksatsports pic.twitter.com/EpK9Cb4KMd— RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) November 4, 2022
Popovich reassured fans that the Spurs are handling the incident as best as they can, but reiterated the details of the case are being handled by lawyers.
“The only thing that I would say to the fans is to consider the statement I just made about how we’ve handled things over many years and as far as the details, I think they know intellectually like we all do that it’s in the hands of the lawyers. We can’t say anything,” Popovich said.
“I would imagine over time, details are going to come out. They always do. Everybody has to just wait for that,” he added.
On Friday, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office confirmed it opened an investigation into the allegations against Primo and said they made contact with the alleged victim, though the victim wasn’t identified.