A sports reporter for the Houston Chronicle has parted ways with the newspaper after making controversial remarks comparing the women accusing Deshaun Watson of sexual misconduct to ‘terrorists’.
Aaron Wilson, a veteran NFL reporter, issued a contrite apology for his remarks on Saturday, after The Defector first reported that he was no longer employed by the Chronicle.
On March 19, Wilson had appeared as a guest on WEEI radio to discuss the then-emerging allegations against Watson, the star quarterback for the Houston Texans.
‘In (Watson’s) case, you don’t negotiate with terrorists,’ Wilson said of the lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct during massages. ‘People are demanding money, they’re asking for money. It kept escalating, it kept going up and up and up. You’re talking about more and more funds, I’m not going to say how much it got to, but my understanding is there was an admission that, it was just a money grab.’
Aaron Wilson, a veteran NFL reporter, issued a contrite apology for his remarks on Saturday, after news broke that he was no longer employed by the Houston Chronicle
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, 25, has been accused in lawsuits by 22 women of sexual misconduct during massages
A total of 22 women, most of them massage therapists, are now suing Watson, accusing him of sexually assaulting them or behaving inappropriately during the course of massages. There are no criminal charges in the case.
Watson, 25, reached a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Texans in September. He went on to earn a third consecutive Pro Bowl selection before requesting a trade in January.
He has strenuously denied the misconduct claims, but through his attorney said he engaged in consensual sexual activity with some of the masseuses who are suing him.
In the March 19 radio appearance, Wilson referred to Tony Buzbee, the attorney representing 22 women with cases against Watson, as an ‘ambulance chaser’ for accusers seeking money.
Wilson, who has covered the Texans since 2015, said that he knew Watson and found the allegations difficult to believe without proof.
Watson reached a four-year, $156 million contract extension with the Texans in September. He has strenuously denied the allegations, which came in lawsuits rather than criminal charges
‘I’m not saying I’m not,’ Wilson said when asked if he was ‘pro-Watson’ in the case.
‘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,’ he said.
On Friday afternoon, editors at the Chronicle called an impromptu Zoom meeting for the sports staff in which they announced Wilson was not longer employed at the paper, according to The Defector.
Editors did not reveal the reason for his departure or mention Wilson’s remarks about the Watson case. It is unclear why his departure came several weeks after the controversial radio remarks.
In a statement on Saturday, Wilson apologized, saying: ‘I made a mistake that I fully understand and own when I did not choose my words nearly carefully enough.’
‘My efforts to convey perspectives on the situation clearly demonstrated an unintentional lack of sensitivity to the serious nature of these type of allegations, and I sincerely apologize for my remarks,’ Wilson added.
Prior to joining the Chronicle, Wilson covered the Baltimore Ravens from 2001 to 2015, after covering the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans as well.
Wilson said his own ‘high standards’ weren’t met during the controversial radio interview.
‘I didn’t maintain my own high standards that I’ve established and applied during my two decades covering many other similarly important and delicate situations in the NFL,’ Wilson wrote.
‘I will proceed much more carefully going forward and learn from this moment.’