Houston Chronicle reporter loses job after comparing Deshaun Watson’s accusers to terrorists

Veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson has lost his job at the Houston Chronicle, per Defector Media, after comments he made about Deshaun’s Watson’s accusers.

Wilson was interviewed by Boston radio station WEEI on March 19, just three days after Watson’s initial statement on the first lawsuit filed against him. At the time of the interview, there were 12 lawsuits against Watson (there are now 22). In the interview, Wilson used the term “money grab” when describing the lawsuits. He also referred to the women accusing Watson of sexual misconduct as “terrorists.”

Wilson also said he was “skeptical” about the claims being made by the accusers.

MORE: What to know about the lawsuits against Deshaun Watson

“It’s easier (to go after) someone with an impeccable reputation in many ways because they have the means to pay, in the case of someone like Deshaun Watson. And they’re more likely to pay to make the whole thing go away. In his case, you know, it’s kind of like you don’t, you know, you don’t negotiate with terrorists.


You know, people are demanding money, they’re asking for money … it kept escalating. It kept going up and up and up. And you start talking about more and more funds. I’m not gonna say how much it got to, but my understanding is, you know, that there was an admission that, it was, you know, something, you know, just that this was, you know, just a money grab.”

Wilson was defensive of Watson throughout the interview, to the point radio hosts asked Wilson whether he was “pro-Watson” in this case.

“I’m not saying I’m not,” Wilson said. “I’m telling you I don’t know them. I know him. I’m not gonna throw this guy under the bus before I have some proof. I don’t feel like I have the proof. They’re allegations.”

A day after Defector Media reported Wilson lost his job, the reporter issued an apology, via his Twitter account.

“I made a mistake that I fully understand and own when I did not choose my words nearly carefully enough during a discussion on a March 19 radio program regarding the sensitive, complex and controversial Deshaun Watson legal situation, in the days following the initial filing of the civil lawsuits from women against him,” Wilson’s statement reads, in part.

According to Defector Media, the Houston Chronicle held a staff meeting on Friday where editor Reid Laymance announced Wilson was no longer working there. Although Wilson was not mentioned by name, Chronicle executive editor Steve Riley reportedly sent a memo to the newsroom regarding how to handle Watson’s legal situation.

The memo, via Defector Media:

“The sexual assault allegations against Deshaun Watson bring those standards front and center. This note serves as a reminder that as we report, analyze and describe those allegations, those who bring them and the person they are brought against, we must approach the story with fairness and care toward all involved. Given the frequency of content we are creating, on a growing number of print and digital channels, our editors must also be more vigilant with our oversight of coverage on all platforms. … Facts are good. Analysis is OK. Opinion, speculation or baseless assertions are not. We won’t tolerate that sort of commentary.”

The memo also pointed out that all staff were required to receive permission from a supervisor before making a media appearance elsewhere.

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