Veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson lost his job at the Houston Chronicle, by Defector Media, after comments he made about Watson’s accusers from Deshaun.
Wilson was interviewed by Boston radio station WEEI on March 19, just three days later Watson’s opening statement in the first lawsuit filed against him. At the time of the interview, there were 12 lawsuits against Watson (now there are 22). In the interview, Wilson used the term “money grab” when describing the lawsuits. He also referred to the women who accuse Watson of sexual misconduct as “terrorists.”
Wilson also said he was “skeptical” of the accusers’ claims.
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 are more likely to pay to make it all go away. In their case, you know, It’s like you don’t, you know, you don’t negotiate with terrorists.
You know, people are demanding money, they are asking for money … it kept increasing. It kept going up and up and up. And you start talking about more and more funds. I’m not going to say how much it got to be, but I understand, you know, 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 where radio hosts asked Wilson if he was “pro-Watson” in this case.
“I’m not saying no,” Wilson said. “I’m telling you I don’t know them. I know him. I’m not going to throw this guy under the bus before I have any proof. I don’t feel like I have the proof. They are accusations.”
A day after Defector Media reported that Wilson lost his job, the reporter apologized via his Twitter account.
“I made a mistake that I fully understand and acknowledge when I did not choose my words carefully enough during a discussion on a March 19 radio show about Deshaun Watson’s delicate, complex and controversial legal situation, in the days after the initial presentation of the civil lawsuits of women against him, “reads Wilson’s statement, in part.
According to Defector Media, the Houston Chronicle held a staff meeting on Friday in which editor Reid Laymance announced that Wilson was no longer working there. Although Wilson was not mentioned by name, Chronicle executive editor Steve Riley sent a memo to the newsroom on 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, who is bringing them and the person against whom they are being brought, we must address the story justice and care for everyone involved Given the frequency of content we are creating, across a growing number of print and digital channels, our publishers also need to be more vigilant in our oversight of coverage across all platforms … Facts are good. Analysis Okay. Opinions, speculations, or unsubstantiated claims are not. We will not tolerate such comments. “
The memo also noted that all staff must receive permission from a supervisor before making a media appearance elsewhere.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.