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.