A California woman who worked for a sports marketing firm led by Warren Moon is suing the Hall of Fame quarterback for sexual harassment.

Share story

A California woman who worked for a sports marketing firm led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit alleging that the retired football star required her to wear thong underwear and share his bed during business trips.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Orange County, California, also alleges that Moon, 61, committed sexual battery by grabbing the woman’s crotch during a trip to Seattle this year. The suit further accuses Moon of pulling off the woman’s bathing suit after slipping a drug into her drink during a separate trip to Mexico in October.

A publicist for Moon’s company, Sports 1 Marketing of Irvine, California, did not return phone calls or an email seeking comment. Moon is a Seahawks radio analyst. After initially declining comment, the team announced Wednesday that Moon is taking a leave of absence.

[ Calkins | If allegations are true, Warren Moon is finished » ]

“We have accepted Warren Moon’s request for a leave of absence as the club’s radio analyst,” the Seahawks said in a statement. “Brock Huard and Dave Wyman will assume the role of radio analyst indefinitely.”

Allegations of sexual misconduct

Since The New York Times published allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein in October, multiple men in Hollywood, politics and media have faced allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to rape. Here's a list of some of the people who have been accused.

How have sexual harassment and the #MeToo conversation affected you?

We want to hear your thoughts. Whether you work in tech, government, media, finance, the arts or another field, has sexual harassment or sexism affected you or the culture you work in? Are you becoming more cautious with co-workers or other people in your life?  

The plaintiff, Wendy Haskell, 32, was hired as Moon’s executive assistant in July and traveled with him on a weekly basis for speaking engagements, charity events and personal appearances, according to the lawsuit. She alleges that she was demoted by the firm in October after she complained about Moon’s sexual advances.

After leading the University of Washington to a Rose Bowl victory in 1978, Moon played six years in the Canadian Football League, followed by 17 seasons in the NFL.

He starred for the Houston Oilers from 1984 to 1993, when he set numerous passing records, and also played for the Minnesota Vikings, Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs during his long career before retiring in 2000 at age 44.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

In 1989, he received the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his charitable works and excellence on the field. But his reputation was later marred by scandals involving women.

In May 1995, he was sued by a Vikings cheerleader who accused him of sexual harassment, alleging that he offered her cash for sex. The case was settled out of court days later.

Two months after that, Moon was arrested in Texas after the quarterback’s wife, Felicia, told police that he had slapped and choked her in their mansion near Houston.

Moon told reporters that the couple had an argument and that he had made “a tremendous mistake.” He reconciled with his wife, who declined to press charges.

Authorities in Texas charged Moon with assault anyway, but he was acquitted by a jury after his wife testified that she had provoked the fight. They divorced in 2001.

Moon co-founded Sports 1 Marketing in 2010 and serves as its president.

According to the new lawsuit, Moon required Haskell to stay in his hotel room during business trips, sleep in the same bed and wear “skimpy thong lingerie bottoms” as nightclothes. When she protested, he replied that she had to comply to keep her job and said that “his prior assistant accepted the same arrangement,” the lawsuit states.

Haskell declined to comment through her attorney, Diana Fitzgerald of Miami, Florida. The Washington Post does not ordinarily name alleged victims of sexual assault, but Fitzgerald said her client had agreed to go public.

Fitzgerald said Haskell did not report any of Moon’s conduct, including the alleged sexual battery, to police. “I think she was scared,” she said.

“She was expecting to further her career in the sports marketing industry,” Fitzgerald added. “She had no idea that her job duties were going to involve that kind of perverse protocol.”

Times reporter Bob Condotta contributed to this story.