Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon has been accused of sexual harassment and sexual battery in a lawsuit filed by a female employee of his sports marketing firm.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court in California. Wendy Haskell, 32, said that the 61-year-old Moon made "unwanted and unsolicited" sexual advances toward her while she was working for Sports 1 Marketing as Moon's assistant.
Moon, who denied the allegations in a text to Seattle's KING 5 TV, will take a leave of absence from his role on Seattle Seahawks radio broadcasts.
"Warren Moon has yet to be served with the lawsuit filed by Wendy Haskell, but he is aware of the claims contained in it," attorney Daniel Fears said in a statement. "Mr. Moon denies the claims by Ms. Haskell. Mr. Moon contends these claims are meritless, and he has every intention to vigorously defend himself in court."
The Seahawks released a statement on Wednesday saying the team has accepted Moon's request for a leave, although it did not provide a reason.
Haskell told The Washington Post through her attorney, Diana L. Fitzgerald, that she wishes to have her name made public.
The lawsuit alleges that soon after Haskell was hired in July, Moon demanded that she "submit to a variety of unnerving sexual and perverse controlling arrangements, including sleeping in the same bed with him on all business trips, providing him unfettered access to the bathroom every time she showered, wearing skimpy lingerie while in the obligatory single room, obtaining prior approval for her wardrobe, and being subjected to continuous unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances."
She also claimed in the lawsuit that Moon drugged her drink during a business trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. When she asked if he put something in her drink, Moon admitted to doing so, she said, telling her he did so because he thought she wasn't "having fun." On the same trip, according to the lawsuit, Moon pulled off Haskell's bathing suit while on the beach, despite her pleas with him to stop.
Fitzgerald told The Washington Post that Haskell did not report any of Moon's conduct, including the alleged sexual battery, to police.
"I think she was scared," Fitzgerald told the newspaper. "She was expecting to further her career in the sports marketing industry. She had no idea that her job duties were going to involve that kind of perverse protocol."
Moon, who was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 1989, was sued by a Vikings cheerleader who accused him of offering her cash for sex in 1995. The case was settled out of court.
Moon was arrested in Houston two months later after his then-wife, Felicia, told police that he struck her on the head and choked her before she escaped from the couple's home. The case went to trial, and Moon was acquitted when his wife testified she had initiated the violence.
Moon spent six seasons in the CFL, and led the Edmonton Eskimos to five straight Grey Cup titles, while throwing for 21,228 yards and 144 touchdowns. He then ventured to the NFL and made nine Pro Bowls, throwing for 49,325 yards, 291 touchdowns and 233 interceptions in 17 NFL seasons with the Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, Kansas City Chiefs and Seahawks.
He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
Moon, who played collegiately at the University of Washington, is in his 14th season as an analyst on Seahawks radio broadcasts. According to the team's statement, former Seahawks players Brock Huard and Dave Wyman will replace Moon indefinitely.