On Monday morning, Jim Trotter of NFL Media announced that his contract with the league-owned operation would not be renewed.
On Tuesday afternoon, Trotter suggested that his repeated questions to Commissioner Roger Goodell about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the NFL Media newsroom played a role in the decision.
On Tuesday evening, Goodell rejected that premise.
“I wasn’t part of that decision and actually was just made aware of it about 10 minutes before I walked in here,” Goodell told reporters at the league meetings in Arizona. “So, no, I don’t believe that had anything to do with it.”
Not being involved in the decision doesn’t conclusively prove the absence of a connection. Sometimes, the Code Red happens without a Code Red being ordered.
“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?,” as Myles Simmons likes to say every once in a while (or more often than that), is all it takes.
Or maybe someone in NFL Media management decided on his or her own to flag Trotter for termination after witnessing Trotter ask pointed questions of Goodell in two straight pre-Super Bowl press conferences, most recently adding this eyebrow-raising quote from James Baldwin when confronting Goodell on the subject: “I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do.”
No, Goodell wouldn’t need to tell anyone to fire Trotter. A simple, seemingly casual, expression of displeasure by Goodell to someone in NFL Media management (e.g., “I’m surprised you don’t have better control of your people”) would send a message, loudly and clearly.
I’m not saying that’s what happened. No one will know what happened, absent litigation. Which could indeed be coming.