Jim Trotter accuses NFL Media of covering up owner behavior


It’s officially Jim Trotter’s last day with NFL Media. And he’s going out with a flourish.

Here’s what Trotter tweeted on Friday morning: “I’ve thought a lot about Brian Flores’ lawsuit against @nfl
for alleged discriminatory hiring practices. His case is the micro. The macro is the culture within the NFL, including owner behavior that was covered up by the league-owned newsroom. Stay tuned. More to come.”

This message strengthens the likelihood of a lawsuit by Trotter. As previously noted, he doesn’t have an arbitration clause in his contract — which means any litigation will play out in open court. (That said, the NFL might try to shoehorn any such claim into an arbitration obligation, as it’s doing in the Jon Gruden case.)

Trotter’s vow to expose the dynamics of the NFL-owned newsroom takes everything to another level, and it could go a long way toward exposing a problem that has been hiding in plain sight from the moment the league decided to hire reporters to report on the league.

Many shrug at the inherent conflict of interest. Many don’t expect league-owned media to engage in real journalism. Still, people working both for the NFL and NFL Media don’t like it when the obvious bias flowing from the fact that the Commissioner signs the paychecks is mentioned.

From time to time, former NFL Media employees have mentioned the tensions that arise from covering the league while working for the league. Albert Breer has done it. Mike Silver has, too.

But neither of them ever claimed that they were pushed out for refusing to play along. Trotter will, if he files suit, be the first.

Barring a settlement (and it’s not likely that the league will be able to buy his silence), Trotter could shine a light on just enough to compel major changes to be made by a league that quite possibly expects its reporters who report on the league to exercise discretion in reporting, if they hope to keep their jobs.

85 responses to “Jim Trotter accuses NFL Media of covering up owner behavior

  1. Shame on Trotter, as an NFL Media employee he should know very well that the only purpose of NFL Media is to promote the NFL and entertain its viewers, not to provide real news…

  2. Good for him….for the most part, NFL owners are simply greedy SOBs that take advantage of the popularity of the game. Really am tired of it as a season ticket holder for over half my life. Go ahead and cater to your young audience with a 20 second attention span, because, those ‘fans’ will quickly move on to something new and more enticing.

  3. You’re saying the company that hired you doesn’t want you to publicly talk negatively about them. I’m shocked! Reporters are too often becoming the news rather than their job of reporting the news. Try going on Facebook and trashing your employer and see what happens.

  4. I have never considered any of those people “news reporters” or journalists. Who they work for and what their job is should be very clear to most people.

  5. Employees are obligated to follow any legal rules and those that choose to do otherwise can be fired. He hasn’t claimed racial, age or a handicap caused his release, so if he said or did something against a standing policy or refused to comply he can be fired.
    I’ve fired employees for many issues and never lost a case to the labor board.
    Why should NFL Media be any different?

  6. The NFL should have made him sign a non disclosure agreement. They seem to be popular these days.

  7. I still don’t see how failure to renew an expiring contract is something to be litigated, but if it is, a lot of reporters may lose their current job. I could see the NFL shutting down the newsroom and becoming very tight-lipped with what they allow the public to hear about them.

  8. The NFL covers up bad behavior from the owners and league employees and want the NFL network to aide them in that? I am shocked. Just shocked. I for one have always thought that the league has always been 100% transparent about everything that goes on! Sarcasm font engaged.

  9. if a “reporter” simply “reports” (that is to say, merely disseminate information), while a journalist follows leads, digs up information, investigates multiple sources to ensure accuracy, & vets data via fact-checking….. very curious about details of Trotter’s employment contract.

    Media types & media experts: does your industry typically make a contractual distinction between a “journalist” vs “reporter” ?

    Is that even a thing ?

    Inquiring minds wanna know….

  10. Let’s see Flores was fired by Chris Grier, so I guess that makes Grier a racist? LOL!

  11. Where are the stories about other reporters and other employees being let go? Mike Giardi was informed he was not being retained. Where is his dozen articles going to bat for him encouraging a lawsuit? Why are we only talking about Trotter?

    Is it because he was the only NFL employee not retained? Nope. Is it because he was dumb enough to challenge the league, regardless if he is right/wrong? Probably. Is it because of something else? Not likely. Do others seem to want it to be about something else? Absolutely.

  12. Ahahahaha – he’s suing because his contract expired and it wasn’t renewed? That’s laughable. I would expect summary judgment against him in any lawsuit.

    He’s threatening to disclose some stuff right now in order to try and encourage a payoff. Doesn’t anybody get it? If he *really* had any bombshell information, guess what? They would have renewed his contract to buy his silence. Don’t people understand how anything works?

  13. The NFL Owners are the High Table of sports. Everyone else is John Wick. Watch your back NFL.

  14. This guy cant burn enough bridges on his way out huh? Go ahead and leave now guy. Enough already

  15. If certain groups of employees typically sue when they are fired, why would you ever want to hire them in the first place? In the real business world, to fire these employees, no matter how deserving, companies go through great lengths to document the reasons for termination which takes many more months to protect themselves from eventual lawsuits. For everyone else they may give them a performance improvement plan but then fire if the results aren’t there.

  16. I don’t think he is just talking about NFL reporters selectively grooming news. Really who cares? He is talking about the culture in that owners group. I am expecting some expose style info about greed, corruption and maybe covering up player safety issues for the game. It has to be about more than how they report tge sports news. I never really thought those reports to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Whether you want to see it or not, I expect there is so pretty greedy and potentially criminal stuff goes on that group.

  17. Before working for the NFL, Jim Trotter was a highly respected journalist. Now, because he is challenging NFL integrity, honesty, and fairness and because he is black, many fans (mostly white I presume) are portraying him as vengeful, vindictive, and not a “real” journalist. Some things never change…

  18. So, let me try to understand this….

    A minority journalist is hired by the NFL and is eventually fired for insubordination and incompetence and wants to sue because the NFL doesnt hire minorities?

    Sometimes incompetents are fired for their incompetence not their race, age, orientation.

    Sorry Mr Trotter, I just dont see any case for you.

  19. I think Mr. Trotter is a fine reporter. But I also know that recently terminated/non-renewed employees are not going to be the most objective of people as there is an obvious ax to grind. Will be interesting to hear what he alleges. Will provide good off-season fodder for a certain website. But the NFL Network is undergoing budget cuts (as ABC is, etc. etc. etc.) so not unexpected that some are terminated/non-renewed.

  20. Jim Trotter needs to wake up and smell the “not free” coffee. There is no true journalism in sports or in the news in general! Now a days companies merely look for people that “check a certain box”, no skill or talent required. BTW the NFL Network Headquarters and the NFL league are located in New York and California, both are “at will” employment states which means–Within these States employment may be terminated at the will of either party. Both the employer and the employee are free to end the employment relationship at any time, with no penalty being assessed to either. Therefore Jim, since the Network and League dont like your work and/or questions or inquiries they can fire you, that is THEIR RIGHT! So quit whining, play their game, or find another profession/career, thats the world we live in these days—-DEAL WITH IT!

  21. First, commenters are correct that there should be diminished expectations of reporting “true” and “complete” news if the media department is owned by the entity that makes the news. Second, however, if the issue is racial discrimination or other forms of discrimination or wrongdoing, efforts to suppress that information and efforts to adversely effect employment of someone that tries to disclose that information, those acts have civil and even criminal legal repercussions. Third, folks get hung up on this non-renewal of a contract thing — the issue is adverse employment action as a result of legally protected class or complaints about discriminatory acts. That can result from non-renewal of an automatically renewing contract, or just canning someone out of the blue that is under contract or while employed.

  22. How do you actually think 32 multi-billionaires are going to act behind closed doors? I mean common sense that God gave the pissant is a lost art.

  23. Trotter needs to be prepared for any skeletons in his closet to be brought to light.

  24. whateverworks77 says:
    March 31, 2023 at 12:29 pm
    Good for him….for the most part, NFL owners are simply greedy SOBs that take advantage of the popularity of the game.
    As with any CEO… making money off something popular, whether it’s an auto brand, clothing, social media, etc… that’s life.

  25. How’s this any different than any other news room in the US right now? All media is controlled by their corporate or political owners.

  26. The recently unemployed Mr. Trotter is letting potential employers know that he has dirt. What and how he chooses to disclose that dirt might intrigue a “news” organization. His position as a polarizing figure would drive engagement. Since news has become a business requiring a RoE and engagement is the key, whether or not that engagement could be maintained and how much it would be worth to either a potential new employer (or if his former employer would like to buy his silence) will probably decide his next move.

  27. Whether there are any wrongdoings, I think it’s a career suicide for Trotter. Why would any employer want to hire someone problematic?

  28. Media giants Disney, Twitter, Google and Facebook have laid off over 100,000 workers this year. It’s not always racism, it’s economic factors.

  29. Face it, the OWNERS are the NFL.————————–

    Right – sponsors, fans, advertisers, all spend billions to see a bunch of old farts talk and make deals, etc. Those guys in the funny uniforms, what’s with that?

  30. Does this site ever have a conflict of interest between its reporting and its ownership?

  31. A league deciding not to report on their own behavior is not illegal. If Trotter sues, what will the claim be? Some posters here point to racial discrimination, but it seems his contract was not renewed because he wasn’t doing his job the way the NFL wanted. You may have sympathy for that position, but it’s not actionable. If Trotter wanted to be an objective reporter on the NFL, then he shouldn’t have accepted employment from the NFL.

  32. Trotter should’ve known the media ground rules.

    If you work for NFL Network you don’t bash the league
    If you work for NBC, CBS, ABC or CNN you don’t bash democrats
    If you work for FOX News, you don’t bash republicans

  33. If Acme Incorporated hires you to be a reporter covering Acme Incorporated – isnt your job kind of obvious?

    Trotter knew who he was working for.

  34. Can the NFL Network sign a Grant of Rights deal with the PAC-12? I’m only curious..

  35. I tuned Trotter out years ago. When he’s on the NFLN set he’s always the Debbie Downer. If he wants to be that guy by all means be it, but we watch the NFL for entertainment, not to be told how horrible and oppressive it is. I don’t believe it’s horrible or oppressive. Good riddance to you Mr Trotter

  36. There are some VERY good owners in this league..Jeffry Lurie is one (because living in Philly we see what he does) but others not so much. But If a reporter wants to on the NFL I say good luck. Look at Daniel Synder..Not a nice man but looks like 30 other Owners circled the wagons (Irsay is except..lol)..Until there’s proof of wrong doing..real proof it’s a fight he won’t win. A Owner can hire who he wants ..period

  37. Breaking!!! Burger King employee accuses Burger King management of encouraging employees to only say good things about Burger King. News at 11!

  38. It doesn’t matter. The truth is irrelevant anymore. It’s one guy’s word against another. Well, actually video evidence doesn’t even work anymore. It’s not just the NFL media. Other networks perpetuate lies. We don’t want the truth. People are afraid of change. Literally afraid. It’s true. You’re going to get a lot of push back when you try to get people to change. It’s just human nature. It takes a lot of work to change. We’re already feeling overworked. Don’t have the energy.

  39. I owned a sports newspaper many years ago. Once I was on hold for the pr director of the local nfl team. When he came on he started swearing his head off at me, f-bombs you name it. It took me a minute to figure out he thought I was someone else on the phone.

    This never happened with the baseball or basketball team. And our regular sports media kisses our football team’s butt even though it is one of the worst teams every year. Believe me this is not a coincidence.

  40. Covering up for NFL Owners??? Alert the media, wait that’s whose covering it up. Self serving media?? Welcome to 2023. Good Ole Boys Media Clubs, you tell us what you want us to say. Oh the political ramifications WAIT the media does the same thing for politicians.

  41. toast says:
    March 31, 2023 at 2:58 pm
    I owned a sports newspaper many years ago. Once I was on hold for the pr director of the local nfl team. When he came on he started swearing his head off at me, f-bombs you name it. It took me a minute to figure out he thought I was someone else on the phone.

    This never happened with the baseball or basketball team. And our regular sports media kisses our football team’s butt even though it is one of the worst teams every year. Believe me this is not a coincidence.


    WOW the Packers PR director is so unprofessional

  42. This feels low to me. No need state the obvious so he can have his little revenge. We know this.
    It’s logical. No one goes on TV to talk crap about themselves. Just like no one at profootballtalk.com writes and posts an article about the imperfect things that go on behind the scenes.

    I hate that Trotter was let go, specially because of the reason behind it. But going on a revenge tour is below him.

    To be fair, I listen to some NFL media podcasts and they don’t appear to shy away from difficult topics. I’m not saying no one at NFL media cleans things up a bit. I’m saying some for sure don’t, and remain employed

  43. He’s just gonna try to Colin Kaepernick himself into a lawsuit and a payday.

    Nothing but a money grab.

  44. Grown men with money and power sometimes behave badly. Oh my, Jim Trotter has a scoop!

  45. He’s tired of the hypocrisy and facts of the dirty side of NFL

    Jim Trotter is regarded as one of the most reputable and respected NFL reporters.

    Like Florio said what’s happening to Jim Trotter is wrong!!!

  46. This is all garnering publicity for Trotter’s eventual tell-all book. No one is required to retain an employee after their contract expires. Trotter is entitled to make all the Twitter posts he wants, but he’s a fool if he attempts a lawsuit.

  47. It’s officially Jim Trotter’s last day with NFL Media…………

    Enough said.

    Screaming it on your way out doesn’t count.

  48. So when he says nfl news is fake it’s a big story. But when countless of us say national news (yes, including fox) is fake, we’re labeled conspiracy theorists. News flash (no pun intended), the news you ingest is controlled by those at the top of the company. You hear what they want you to hear.

  49. Let’s hope Mr Totter has saved his money along the way as he’s gonna have difficulty getting interest from employers. Time to start your own biz Jim

  50. You want to clean up the NFL. Just like the real world get rid of lawyers, then the journalists. All their jobs is to do is pick at scabs to try and infect and expose a wound.. That’s what we have insects for, which actually is a good description for the above mentioned jobs. Trotter is just another in the long line of disgruntled employees…..

  51. I’m all for airing the league’s, the owners’ and the commissioner’s dirty laundry. But as a contract employee myself I do not understand one bit how he could sue over this. If his contract had been terminated early, sure, could be something there for a lawsuit, depending on how the contract was written. However, unless his contract was written to automatically renew and those conditions were violated, what leg does he have to stand on?

  52. It’s just good business aka a money grab. Who can fault him for that, not me.

  53. If you want to open a commercial airline, have people’s lives in your hands at 30,000 ft above sea level, you can do so. Any idiot can do so. Need tons of capital and be able to meet tons of regulations, but you can do so. But yet with so many stadiums financed by the public (not even the real issue), you have 0% chance of opening an NFL franchise…and this is why grown men playing with balls (make of that what you will) are paid $30M a year to do so. I understood certain protections were put in during WW2 to keep the leagues alive, but those should no longer apply. Like the rest of us, these professional leagues should have to truly compete with start-ups, etc. Not even sure how it’s legal, but of course everyone at the top (politicians, to owners, etc scratch one another’s backs). Competition is supposed to be the American way. Ooops, sorry, this is no longer America, we’re now post-1933 Germany.

  54. Everyone understands it’s the marketing arm of the NFL. Just like the official team web sites. Many fans still use them.
    What I miss is the old school Page 1 of every sports page back in the day. The Standings first! The player stats just below! Upcoming games below that. Then some feature articles to read.

    Now you have to dig through menus just to fid the bloody standings, which is the first thing you want to check out.

  55. So when he says nfl news is fake it’s a big story. But when countless of us say national news (yes, including fox) is fake, we’re labeled conspiracy theorists. News flash (no pun intended), the news you ingest is controlled by those at the top of the company. You hear what they want you to hear.
    Sadly, this is true. As a whole, the media decided their position entitled them to take control of the direction of our country. They had responsibility, they saw power… and took it. However, I can’t sympathize with a person who writes negative stories about his own employer and doesn’t anticipate repercussion; that’s foolhardy.

  56. Obviously NFL Media, which is owned by the NFL, does what the NFL wants. The problem is the NFL claims NFL Media is independent and publicly say reporters like Trotter do what reporters are supposed to do.

    Sally, this is the case for all national media, from Fox to MSNBC…

  57. As long as the NFL controls the narrative the owners behavioral culture will continue to thrive under coverage unless you’re Dan Syder

  58. He wasn’t fired. His contract was up and they didn’t renew it. We haven’t heard whether an offer was made or he just didn’t like the terms he was offered.

  59. You all need to understand that the NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry that enjoys myriad benefits — including antitrust exemptions granted through legislative channels. These benefits allow the league to brown more and more rich, outsizing any competitors. So options for working in the sport are few and far between. You may think the NFL’s bad behavior doesn’t affect you but it does.

  60. It’s not like they’re trying to fool anyone.
    If you’re tuning into the NFL Network for NFL coverage you know the NFL owns it

  61. Sooner or later they’re going to cross the wrong path and it’s all gonna be leaked. Those NDA’s aren’t gonna work forever

  62. The issue is not that the NFL expects an employee not to trash them. The issue is that the NFL also wants to appear like a neutral commentator on events. And it can’t have it both ways.

  63. Trotter is right about some jusrthings, but his current rant is a little misguided. He complains about blacks not being in certain positions in his workplace. How about, people of color? And you’re there! On another note, if Flores really felt mistreated, don’t wait until you’re fired, speak up sooner, my man. Just keeping it real, as I always do.

  64. The NFL network and all of its’ affiliates are not NFL “Media.”

    It’s NFL PR/Marketing.

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