Journalist’s lawsuit contains explosive allegations against two NFL owners
from Eric Smithling, with YardBarker.com/www.yardbarker.com
Longtime journalist Jim Trotter’s retaliation lawsuit filed against the NFL includes explosive allegations against NFL owners Jerry Jones and Terry Pegula.
In a statement posted to “X” on Tuesday, Trotter wrote, “The NFL has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I tried to do so, and it cost me my job.”
In March, Trotter’s contract was not renewed by NFL Media. Trotter, who is Black, now writes for The Athletic.
Quotes from owners Pegula of the Bills and Jones of the Cowboys in Trotter’s suit immediately drew a reaction.
From the Jim Trotter complaint against the NFL. Note the quotes attributed to Jerry Jones and Terry Pegula. pic.twitter.com/mAQz27QxuR
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 12, 2023
Pegula allegedly said, in regard to protests against racial injustice and police brutality, “If the Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is.”
Pegula denied Trotter’s claim on Tuesday, saying, per the Buffalo News: “The statement attributed to me in Mr. Trotter’s complaint is absolutely false. I am horrified that anyone would connect me to an allegation of this kind.”
When asked by Trotter about the lack of diversity in lead positions among NFL teams, Jones allegedly said, “If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire.”
Per the New York Times, the Cowboys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As the New York Times noted, Trotter’s dismissal came a month after he questioned NFL commissioner Roger Goodell before Super Bowl LVII “about the league’s commitment to diversity and why a Black person had never been hired as a senior manager in NFL Network’s newsroom.”
On his last day with the NFL, Trotter posted a message to social media that hinted at potential litigation, as he mentioned Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores and his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league.
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.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) March 31, 2023
The league’s slow crawl toward embracing diversity within its ranks first led to Flores filing a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in February 2022.
In March, a judge ruled the trial could proceed in court after the league tried to have it moved to arbitration.
It’s no secret the NFL has a poor track record in diversity. That’s why the league enforced the Rooney Rule in 2003, which requires teams to interview minority candidates for open positions.
The New York Times noted the incremental improvements made over the past three seasons, including five teams hiring Black presidents and eight of the past 13 general managers hired being people of color.
However, progress within the league regarding diversity has come slowly. With Trotter’s lawsuit potentially putting the NFL’s feet to the fire, it might speed up the process.