Former NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter is suing the league and its cable channel over racial discrimination after the organization declined to renew his contract.
On Tuesday (September 12), Trotter filed a 53-page complaint in Manhattan federal court, alleging that the league retaliated against him after he criticized NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s “deplorable record on hiring, retaining and advancing Black leaders across the organization including in the NFL newsroom," per HuffPost.
The NFL's dismissal of Trotter “is consistent with a documented history of silencing, retaliating against and ‘blackballing’ Black men who speak out about such conduct," the complaint states. “This is the NFL’s modus operandi and part of the fabric of the league.”
In the lawsuit, Trotter detailed the events leading up to his termination, including an NFL executive telling the reporter's agent last fall that his contract would likely be renewed. Trotter called out the lack of diversity in the NFL's newsroom the following February.
"I’ve worked at NFL Media for five years, and during those five years, we’ve never had a Black person in senior management in our newsroom. That’s a problem," Trotter said at the time during a press conference.
After making the comment, Trotter said he was denied assignments and his contract wasn't renewed.
An NFL spokesperson denied Trotter's allegations.
“We take his concerns seriously, but strongly dispute his specific allegations, particularly those made against his dedicated colleagues at NFL Media. 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,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Trotter is seeking a “court-ordered monitor to review the NFL’s policies and/or practices and implement necessary changes with respect to the hiring, retention, and advancement of Black people” in the league and an investigation into alleged discriminatory practices.