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Jim Trotter, a former reporter at the NFL Network, has sued the N.F.L. and the league-owned cable channel for racial discrimination, claiming that his contract was not renewed this year because he repeatedly spoke out about pro football’s lack of diversity at the league office, among its coaches and within its media arm.
Trotter, now a columnist for The Athletic, a sports website owned by The New York Times Company, said in a 53-page complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan that he was let go in retaliation for, among other things, publicly challenging Commissioner Roger Goodell on the league’s commitment to diversity.
“The N.F.L. has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion,” Trotter said in a statement. “I tried to do so, and it cost me my job.”
Trotter said he had previously raised concerns about discrimination in the N.F.L. before taking Goodell to task on national TV in February 2023. Included among his claims were what he believed were racist comments allegedly made by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula.
In August 2020, the lawsuit claims, Trotter asked Jones about why there weren’t more Black professionals in decision-making positions at N.F.L. teams. “If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire,” Jones responded, according to the complaint.