Former NFL Network Reporter Jim Trotter Suing League For Racial Discrimination And Retaliation
Former NFL Network reporter and longtime sports journalist Jim Trotter filed a lawsuit against the league on Tuesday, September 12 citing racial discrimination and retaliation. The suit comes after the network failed to renew the reporter’s contract earlier this year.
According to the Washington Post, Trotter often used his platform to address the NFL’s racial disparities in head coaching positions as well as other ongoing issues of diversity. The lawsuit claims that Trotter’s relationship with the NFL came to an abrupt end when the journalist asked league Commissioner Roger Goddell about the lack of Black executives at the NFL Network during a nationally televised broadcast. Months later, the league failed to offer Trotter a contract renewal; hinting at a heavy cost for speaking out against institutional discrimination throughout multiple levels of the NFL.
“The NFL has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Trotter said. “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.”
The NFL has vehemently denied his claims; calling his firing one of many hard decisions made by sports networks in recent months.
“We take his concerns seriously but strongly dispute his specific allegations, particularly those made against his dedicated colleagues at NFL Media”, league representatives said.
“Mr. Trotter’s departure from NFL Media was one of many difficult decisions – similar to decisions recently made by many other media organizations — to address a challenging economy and a changing media environment.” According to Forbes, Trotter also claims that he was privy to private, inflammatory statements made by Buffalo Bills owner, Terry Pegula as well as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. “If the Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is”, Trotter alleges Pegula said in response to players national anthem protests. When questioned about head coaching positions for the league’s marquee teams, Trotter alleges Jones suggested that Black people should buy their own teams and hire who they want if “they feel a way”.
The former NFL network reporter is seeking unspecified damages in his suit and is currently working as a national columnist for The Athletic.