Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been accused of sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed in California by a woman who worked as his assistant at his sports marketing firm.
In the lawsuit filed early this week in Orange County Superior Court, Wendy Haskell alleges that Moon made “unwanted and unsolicited” sexual advances while she worked for Sports 1 Marketing. Moon, who played parts of 17 seasons in the NFL with Houston, Minnesota, Seattle and Kansas City, is the co-founder and president of the company.
Moon’s attorney, Daniel F. Fears, issued a statement Thursday saying Moon has yet to be served with the lawsuit but is aware of the claims and denies them.
“Mr. Moon contends these claims are meritless, and he has every intention to vigorously defend himself in court,” Fears said in the statement.
The statement also said the 61-year-old Moon had requested a leave of absence from his role as a radio commentator for the Seattle Seahawks, duties that “will be impacted as he defends himself against these claims.” The team said it had granted the request.
According to the lawsuit, Haskell was hired as an executive assistant to Moon last summer. The lawsuit alleges that Haskell was forced to sleep in the same bed with Moon on business trips while wearing lingerie. Haskell says she complained about the arrangement, but Moon responded, “this was the way it was.”
Haskell also contends she was drugged by Moon during a trip to Mexico in October. The lawsuit alleges that Moon acknowledged drugging Haskell because he thought she wasn’t “having fun.” She also claims Moon pulled off her swimsuit during the Mexico trip.
Additionally, the lawsuit says Haskell was required to keep the bathroom door unlocked while she showered and Moon repeatedly entered the room.
The lawsuit claims that Haskell reported Moon’s behavior to Sports 1 Marketing CEO David Meltzer but the company did not investigate her claims. Haskell says she was demoted after making the complaints.
Moon threw for 49,325 yards and 291 touchdowns in the regular season and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006. The former University of Washington star led the team to a 1978 Rose Bowl victory. He went undrafted by the NFL and led Edmonton to five Canadian Football League titles. He became one of the NFL’s first successful black quarterbacks, starting his career with the Oilers in the 1984 season.
Haskell’s attorney, Diane L. Fitzgerald, told The Washington Post her client had decided to go public with the suit.
“She was expecting to further her career in the sports marketing industry,” Fitzgerald told the newspaper. “She had no idea that her job duties were going to involve that kind of perverse protocol.”
For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL