Former NFL Media journalist Jim Trotter sues league for racial discrimination
Sports journalist sues NFL for discrimination and retaliation, criticizing league's hiring practices and handling of racist remarks by team owners.
A lawsuit has been filed against the NFL by a veteran sports journalist, Jim Trotter, who worked for the league's media arm. Trotter alleges that he was not offered a new contract in retaliation for questioning the league's hiring practices in relation to race. He is suing for retaliation and discrimination and is seeking damages to be determined at trial.
According to the lawsuit, Trotter repeatedly called out the NFL for its failure to address long-standing discrimination within coaching ranks, the league office, and the NFL Media newsroom. He specifically highlighted the lack of racial diversity within NFL Media and cited two instances where team owners made racist remarks without facing any consequences.
The NFL has disputed Trotter's claims, stating that the decision not to renew his contract was business-related. The league acknowledged that there is always more work to be done in improving diversity and inclusion but strongly denied Trotter's specific allegations.
This lawsuit comes a year after Brian Flores, a Black and Latino defensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, sued the league for being passed over for head coaching jobs. Trotter's lawsuit describes a Zoom meeting where a reporter revealed a conversation with Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula, who allegedly made a racist remark about Black players. Trotter also mentioned a discussion with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who allegedly made a dismissive comment about Black professionals in decision-making positions.
Trotter raised concerns about these remarks and the NFL's record on racial diversity but claims that the league did nothing to address his concerns. He also pointed out the lack of diversity within NFL Media, where there was not a single full-time Black employee working at the news desk.
During a press conference featuring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Trotter questioned Goodell extensively about hiring practices at NFL Media and the lack of Black head coaches in the league. Trotter's contract was not renewed, which he believes was a blatant act of retaliation for raising concerns about discrimination within the NFL and NFL Media.
Jim Trotter is a highly respected sportswriter who has previously worked for Sports Illustrated and ESPN. He currently writes for the Athletic, which is owned by the New York Times.