Aaron Wilson Fired by Houston Chronicle over Deshaun Watson Radio Comments

Blake SchusterContributor IApril 10, 2021

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans looks to pass during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Houston Chronicle fired veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson because of comments made on WEEI radio in Boston concerning allegations of sexual assault and misconduct against Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Wilson's departure was first reported by Diana Moskovitz and Kalyn Kahler of Defector.com. 

Speaking to The Greg Hill Show on March 19, Wilson characterized the allegations against Watson as a "money grab" and compared settling the suits as negotiating with terrorists.

When asked about the seven sexual misconduct civil lawsuits filed against Watson at the time, one of which also accused him of sexual assault, Wilson said (h/t Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio): 

“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. The—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.”

The amount of civil lawsuits filed against Watson has since climbed to 22.

In a statement acknowledging his departure from the Chronicle, Wilson said his comments were a poor attempt at explaining the differing perspectives surrounding the lawsuits.

Aaron Wilson @AaronWilson_NFL

My statement: pic.twitter.com/4YntyNveci

Moskovitz and Kahler reported Chronicle sports editor Reid Laymance told staffers on Friday that Wilson is no longer working for the outlet but did not offer specifics. Shortly after, executive editor Steve Riley sent an all-staff email reminding reporters to approach the Watson story with "fairness and care" but did not directly refer to Wilson. 

Per Defector, the email read:

"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,”

Watson denied all allegations of sexual misconduct or assault on March 17