Jim Trotter, a longtime reporter and columnist who worked for NFL Network for 5 years, is suing the NFL … claiming his contract wasn’t renewed after he pressed Roger Goodell on the league’s hiring practices when it comes to minorities.
“Jim Trotter … was let go by the National Football League because he challenged Commissioner Roger Goodell and others regarding the NFL’s record of race discrimination and lack of diversity,” the complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, reads.
On several occasions, Trotter, an employee of the NFL-owned NFL Network, publicly grilled Goodell on the lack of Black execs within the league and teams, including during a nationally televised interview during the week leading up to the Super Bowl in February 2023.
The @NFL says its commitment to diversity extends beyond the sideline and front office, but the numbers in the newsroom at the league-owned media group says otherwise. So I asked @nflcommish sbout it. 👇🏾 pic.twitter.com/nabWjo0SDm
Still, Trotter says all indications were he’d receive a new contract in the spring, as his deal was expiring … however, in late March, his deal was not renewed, and he was out of a job.
“It has already been acknowledged by many in the media that the NFL retaliated against and took vengeance on Mr. Trotter for him having taken the NFL to task on its discriminatory practices,” Trotter’s attorneys from Wigdor LLP wrote.
“The NFL’s treatment of Mr. Trotter is consistent with a documented history of silencing, retaliating against and ‘blackballing’ Black men who speak out about such conduct. This is the NFL’s modus operandi and part of the fabric of the league.”
The lawsuit also references Jerry Jones … and an alleged conversation he had with Trotter in August 2020, when the reporter asked the Cowboys owner (similar to the question he posed Goodell) about the league’s hiring practices when it came to Black executives.
“If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire,” Trotter claims Jones responded.
Trotter also references Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula … whom he claims once remarked … “If the Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is.”
JT says he raised concerns about the comment, but “no remedial action was taken.”
FYI, per Trotter’s suit, the NFL only has 8 Black General Managers and 3 Black head coaches.
In addition to the 53-page lawsuit, Trotter, who now works for The Athletic, also released a statement further explaining his reasons for filing the lawsuit.
“The NFL has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I tried to do so, and it cost me my job. I’m filing this lawsuit because I can’t complain about things that are wrong if I’m unwilling to fight for what is right,” JT wrote on social media.
“I hope this lawsuit leads to real change across the league and in the newsroom. It is on the backs of a majority black player population that owners have made billions and those players deserve to have someone who shares their cultural and life experiences at the table when decisions are being made about how they are being covered.”