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#pounditSunday, May 16, 2021

Houston Chronicle reporter loses job over remarks about Watson accusers

Deshaun Watson

Houston Chronicle football writer Aaron Wilson is no longer employed by the newspaper due to recent remarks he made in an interview about the women accusing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson of sexual assault.

The dismissal appears to stem from a March 19 appearance on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show.” In that appearance, Wilson said that Watson’s camp did not want to negotiate because “you don’t negotiate with terrorists.” Wilson also said the attorney for the women was “ambulance chasing.”

“In his case, you know, it’s kind of you don’t negotiate with terrorists,” Wilson said. “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, 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.”

According to Diana Moskovitz and Kalyn Kahler of Defector, members of the Chronicle’s sports department attended a staff meeting in which sports editor Reid Laymance informed the staffers of Wilson’s departure. While Laymance did not give a reason for Wilson’s dismissal, he did remind the staffers to be mindful of what they might say on other platforms.

Earlier Friday, Chronicle editor Steve Riley emailed the entire newsroom with a reminder to report on the Watson allegations with “fairness and care toward all involved.” While Wilson was not mentioned, Riley reminded staffers that “opinion, speculation or baseless assertions” would not be tolerated. It also contained another reminder that any media appearances required supervisor permission, and anyone appearing on other platforms was representing the Chronicle while doing so.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault by 22 women. The allegations are also being investigated by Houston police.

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