Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
SEATTLE (AP) — Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon denied Thursday that he sexually harassed a former assistant.
Moon did an extensive radio interview on KIRO-FM to address claims of sexual assault brought in a lawsuit by Wendy Haskell.
"A lot of women have held a lot of these feelings in for a long time, and are coming out and expressing these feelings, and they should be applauded for that," Moon said. "And I applaud those women for doing that. But in this particular situation, in my case, it just doesn't apply."
Haskell filed the lawsuit in Orange County, California, this month, asserting 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 said Thursday he had a friendship with Haskell before she was hired as his assistant last summer and that their relationship was never sexual. Moon said he believed the lawsuit was in response to her being switched to a different job within the company.
"Our relationship kind of escalated over the last year or so and became more of just a friendship; we basically became like really close companions," Moon said. "But we have been very, very close. We've shared a lot of things; we've talked a lot; we've been a lot of different places together; we've traveled together; we've done a lot of different things. So that's one thing that people don't know. There was a pre-existing relationship before she ever started working for me."
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 that Moon responded, "this was the way it was."
In the interview, Moon admitted the pair had shared a hotel bed on trips but said nothing sexual occurred. He said Haskell was never forced to wear lingerie. When questioned if he thought sharing a room was appropriate, Moon said he didn't view the behavior as out of the norm, noting he had done that in the past.
"At times we did share rooms together, and at other times we didn't," Moon said Thursday. "It just depended on the situation."
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.
"All of that is totally untrue, and I have witnesses that would testify to that, that were present or knew the situation. So, no truth to that at all," Moon said.
He also was accused of sexual harassment in 1995 by a Minnesota Vikings cheerleader in a case that was settled out of court. Moon was also arrested the same year in Texas for an altercation with his wife. Moon was acquitted in the case after his wife testified she started the fight.
Moon took leave from his job as a commentator on the Seattle Seahawks' radio broadcasts after the suit was made public.