Josh Primo’s accuser has a stellar reputation, colleagues say

A psychologist who worked with Spurs and is set to speak this week about the allegations she is making against former Spurs goalkeeper Josh Primo has always maintained the highest standards of integrity and ethical behavior, several colleagues said Tuesday.

Spurs waived Primo, 19, on Friday due to what a league source told Express-News, there were several alleged instances in which he exposed himself to women.

Houston-based attorney Tony Buzbee announced Monday that he is representing psychologist Hillary Cauthen.

Cauthen will make a statement and take questions at a Thursday press conference in Houston, according to a statement from Buzbee.

Following an NBA mandate requiring teams to add a full-time licensed mental health professional — a psychologist or behavioral therapist — to their staff, the Spurs announced the hiring of Cauthen in September 2021. She joined Spurs after 13 years of experience in mental skills training,” according to a club statement.

“I have nothing but good things to say about her,” said Michael Howard, chief administrative officer of The Next Door Inc., a nonprofit social service organization in Hood River, Oregon, which serves seven northwest counties.

Howard worked with Cauthen when they were on the faculty of John F. Kennedy University in Pleasant Hill, California.

“She has always demonstrated the utmost professionalism and holds some pretty strong ethical boundaries,” Howard said. “She truly seeks to foster the well-being of all of her clients and those she serves. She has a solid reputation for integrity.

Cauthen came to Spurs after serving as director of performance services at Texas Optimal Performance & Psychological Services since 2015. She co-founded Blu Chip Analytics in 2017 and Living Mental Wellness in 2018 in Austin and was elected to the board of directors of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology in 2018, serving for three years as Secretary-Treasurer.

Cauthen was also a member of the association’s ethics committee for several years.

“You don’t get to these types of positions without having a really good reputation,” said Kent Lindeman, executive director of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology. “She was a leader of the association and served at the highest levels of leadership. His reputation is impeccable.

Ashwin Patel succeeded Cauthen as secretary-treasurer of the Indianapolis-based association.

“She’s incredibly ethical,” said Patel, professor and coordinator of the sports, recreation and recreation management program at Humber College in Toronto.

“Every interaction I’ve had with Dr. Cauthen has been amazing,” Patel added. “She’s very transparent with her colleagues, without breaking anonymity, about how she’s helped athletes. She’s just phenomenal in every way as a human being.

Cauthen is also Austin FC’s sports psychologist, according to the Major League Soccer franchise’s website. A story about Cauthen on the club’s website described her as ‘a key figure in ensuring the team is mentally fit’.

“I think athletes in general think a little differently,” Cauthen told the website. “High-performing, very routine-oriented perfectionists have their own quirks and mindsets that work for them. You really have to individualize the player himself: what works for him and who is he? Get to know their brains and help them succeed by treating them all individually within the collective unit.

Cauthen is a former NCAA Division I track and field athlete at the University of New Hampshire and Miami of Ohio, according to her LinkedIn page. The site also says she earned a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Los Angeles.

From 2015 to 2019, Cauthen served as an adjunct professor in the Texas State Department of Psychology, according to her LinkedIn page.

The Spurs announced they had waived Primo in a four-paragraph press release issued ahead of Friday’s game against Chicago. They offered no reason to cut ties with their 2021 lottery pick other than Spurs Sports & Entertainment chief executive RC Buford, saying the club hopes “in the long run this move will serve the best interests of both organization and Joshua”.

Later that night, Primo released a statement to ESPN.

“I know you’re all surprised by today’s announcement,” Primo said. “I have sought help to deal with past trauma and will now use this time to focus more fully on my mental health treatment. I hope to be able to discuss these issues in the future in order to to be able to help other people who have suffered in the same way. I appreciate the privacy at this time.

In its statement announcing Thursday’s press conference, Buzbee Law Firm said Buzbee “will discuss the allegations made by Dr. Cauthen and others against (Primo), events that precipitated Primo’s exit from the veracity of recent public statements made by the Spurs organization and Primo, interactions with individuals within the Spurs organization and the expected way forward.

Buford and Spurs Sports & Entertainment Chairman Peter J. Holt did not respond to a request for comment.

Buzbee represented 24 women who sued Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, accusing him of sexual assault or harassment while he was with the Houston Texans.

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Twitter: Tom_Orsborn

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