Jim Trotter Sues NFL, Claims Owners Terry Pegula and Jerry Jones Made Racially Insensitive Remarks – Outkick

Former NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter is suing the National Football League for electing not to renew his contract because of what he claims is racial discrimination.

Trotter — who now works for The Athletic, which is owned by The New York Times — was let go in March. This was because of the NFL‘s decision to not renew his contract.

While the league cited cost-cutting, Trotter claims that this decision was made because of repeated instances of him publically challenging the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell over his perceived lack of action when it came to diversity initiatives.

The veteran reporter has now filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan court claiming racial discrimination. The New York Times reports that Trotter is being represented by the same lawyer who is representing ex-Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who is also in the midst of a racial discrimination lawsuit against the NFL.

“The N.F.L. has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion,” Trotter said in a statement, per The Times. “I tried to do so, and it cost me my job.”

Trotter notably pressed Goodell on the league’s diversity push at two consecutive Super Bowls while still employed with NFL Media.

“I have worked at NFL Media for five years,” Trotter said ahead of Super Bowl LVII in Phoenix, per The Sun. “During those five years we have never had a black person in senior management in our newsroom.

“That’s a problem because we cover a league who, according to league data, the player population is 60 to 70 percent black which means that there is no one who looks like these players at the table when decisions are being made about how they are covered.”

This exchange appeared on national television and occurred the month before Trotter was let go.

However, his lawsuit doesn’t just take aim at the league, it also levies accusations against a pair of its owners.

Jim Trotter accused Bills owner Terry Pegula and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones of making racially insensitive remarks. (Getty Images)

Just after Trotter was let go, he tweeted out a claim that the league’s own newsroom had worked to cover the actions of its owners.

Now, Trotter’s suit appears to single out alleged instances of this. It points to statements made by Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

An excerpt of the suit was shared on social media platform X by reporter Amy Dash. In it, it says Trotter “witnessed and observed discriminatory and/or hostile conduct by his employers — including NFL team owners — that went entirely unchecked as a matter of standard operating procedure.”

The suit then makes the accusations against Pegula and Jones.

Pegula is alleged to have said, “If Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is.” The suit claims this was while discussing player protests.

Additionally, it includes an accusation that Trotter asked Jones a question about why there were not more Black professionals in decision-making positions for NFL teams. He claims that the Cowboys owner said: “If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire.”

Trotter claims to have raised “complaints and concerns” on both instances but contends that no actions were taken.

Trotter alleged that he wanted to bring Jones’ alleged statement on-air in 2021 while discussing the Jon Gruden email scandal, but that two superiors told him not to.

Both The NFL and Bills Denied Trotter’s Claims

The NFL released a statement on Tuesday after Trotter’s lawsuit went public.

“We take his concerns seriously, but strongly dispute his specific allegations, particularly those made against his dedicated colleagues at NFL Media,” league spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement, per Daily Mail.

“Mr. Trotter’s departure from NFL Media was one of many difficult decisions – similar to decisions recently made by many other media organizations — to address a challenging economy and a changing media environment. Jim was one of many employees who were unfortunately affected by these business decisions.”

The NFL wasn’t the only organization that denied Trotter’s claims. The Buffalo Bills also released a statement in which Pegula denied ever saying what Trotter accused him of saying.

“The statement attributed to me in Mr. Trotter’s complaint is absolutely false,” Pegula said in the statement. “I am horrified that anyone would connect me to an allegation of this kind. Racism has no place in our society and I am personally disgusted that my name is associated with the complaint.”

Trotter is reportedly seeking damages to be determined in court.

Follow on X: @Matt_Reigle

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