Jim Trotter takes issue with NFL’s characterization of his concerns

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Jim Trotter won’t be going away quietly. Nor should he be.

The five-year veteran of NFL Media who learned over the weekend that his contract, which expires in three days, won’t be renewed saw his time with the league end less than two months after pressing Commissioner Roger Goodell for answers as to the absence of Black senior managers in the NFL Media newsroom or on the news desk.

Trotter has not yet linked his firing to his efforts to publicly pose tough questions to Goodell. It’s clear, however, that Trotter still has questions, and that he has fresh concerns regarding the manner in which NFL Media may be spinning the situation.

“NFL Media told The (NY) Post that 58 percent of full-time employees hired in 2022 were people of color, and that the 3 most recent NFL Media senior hires are POC,” Trotter tweeted overnight. “My ? How many Black senior managers are in the NEWSROOM (0) & how many full-time Blacks are on the news desk (0)?”

That was the question Trotter posed directly to Goodell — diversity in management and newsroom jobs, not on-air talent or any other function.

“Please don’t fall for the banana in the tailpipe,” Trotter added. “In a league that says its player population is 60-70% Black, these men deserve to have someone w/similar cultural and life experiences at the table when decisions are being made about how they will be covered. Seems appropriate.”

Trotter added this morning some specific advice for anyone in the media who may be receiving information from NFL Media about hiring statistics.

“When someone says Person of Color, ask them for the specific data for BLACK people,” Trotter tweeted. “When someone says Media Group, ask them for specific data for the NEWSROOM. That’s on background, right @AlexRiethmiller?”

The last line expresses Trotter’s apparent belief that NFL Media spokesperson Alex Riethmiller, while declining comment on the record, has been sharing information with reporters on background.

Whether or not a given reporter or publication actually uses any such background information, it’s important to remember that, typically, background information usually makes the party sharing it look better. In many cases, it’s fair for the media to decline to use it unless it comes in the form of an on-the-record quote.

It will be very interesting, frankly, to see if the Commissioner is pressed for an on-the-record quote or two about the decision to part ways with Trotter, or regarding the concerns he has expressed, when the Commissioner meets with reporters in Arizona.

12 responses to “Jim Trotter takes issue with NFL’s characterization of his concerns

  1. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Challenge the commission in public and get fired. This isn’t hard.

  2. Yeah this is a terrible look for the league. Trotter has been one of the most objective and respected voices they’ve had, and I don’t see him saying anything unreasonable…

  3. “It is critically important for journalists to make sure that the words of those in power are backed up by their actions.” – Jim Trotter

  4. The great thing these days is that people can go start their own business and build an audience in almost any market. And hire whoever they want. People need to be resourceful and create.

  5. My guess is he was tired of the job and decided to go out on his own terms and that is a fine and respectable way to go about it. But he wasn’t “fired” and anybody wanting their contract renewed wouldn’t have publicly asked those sorts of questions.

  6. A lot of people seem to think that Trotter should have just continued to shuffle along and remain obsequious to Goodell just to keep his job.
    A lot of people don’t have the courage and integrity of Jim Trotter to question things. Just because some of you people would place your lips on Roger Goodell’s behind for a paycheck, you can’t expect everyone else to get in line behind you.
    Jim Trotter is certainly going to land on his feet.

  7. If you don’t renew an annual auto-renew contract by giving prior notice it won’t be renewed, you’re being fired. I wonder if the commenters above have jobs as professional hair-splitters.

  8. I wonder if the commenters above have jobs as professional hair-splitters.

    It’s a similar distinction as “fired” versus “laid off.” Fired typically means for cause; you did something wrong. Being laid off or having your contract not be renewed carries no negative connotations. Nobody would ever tell a prospective employer they’d been fired at their last job when in reality it’d been a layoff or a contract non-renewal.

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