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Jim Trotter: Grilling Roger Goodell on diversity ‘played a role’ in NFL Media letting me go

Jim Trotter is speaking out after he was let go from NFL Media.

Trotter, who was part of NFL Media’s recent cuts that also included Rachel Bonnetta, went on Peacock’s “Brother From Another” with Michael Holley and Michael Smith on Tuesday and expanded on his opinion that he was let go, at least in part, due to him questioning NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about diversity issues in the league’s newsroom.

“There are some who didn’t like it. And I do believe it played a role in my contract not being renewed, and I will talk about that more later,” Trotter said.

Jim Trotter during the 2023 Super Bowl
Getty Images

“But so be it, you know? I’m not going to change. And I’m always going to fight for representation, and I’m always going to fight for the truth.

“One of the things the NFL always said internally was, ‘Hold us accountable. Hold us accountable as it relates to diversity, equity, and inclusion.’”

Trotter has famously confronted Goodell at the Super Bowl, grilling him about newsroom diversity during the commissioner’s press conference.

“And so for the last couple of years, that’s what I’ve been trying to do, pointing out that in our newsroom, where we cover a player population that is roughly 60-70 percent black according to league data, there is no black person in senior management in our newsroom who has a seat at the table when we are deciding how we are going to cover these players and who is going to cover them.

“Secondarily, we do not have a full-time black person on the news desk at NFL Media. And I keep saying ‘we’ because officially I’m not terminated until Friday. To me, those are issues. Because, one, I think it’s unfair to the players. They should have someone who shares either the same or similar life experiences and cultural experiences at the table when we talk about how we are going to cover them. And the fact that we don’t, to me, is an issue.”

That issue is what Trottter has asked Goodell about at his yearly press conference the past two years.

“I’ve worked at NFL Media for five years, 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 60-70 percent black, which means that there’s no one who looks like these players at the table when decisions are being made about how they are covered. More concerning is that for a year-plus now we have not had a full-time black employee on the news desk, which again is a problem because we cover a league whose player population is 60-70 percent black,” Trotter previously said to Goodell.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
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“I asked you about these things last year and your answer was that the league had fallen short and you were going to review all of your policies and practices to try and improve this and yet a year later nothing has changed. James Baldwin once said that I can’t believe what you say because I see what you do. And so what I would ask you, as an employee, is when, in the newsroom, will we have a black person in senior management and when will we have a full-time black employee on the newsdesk?”

Goodell responded by saying he is “not in charge of the newsroom” and that there were “significant changes in diversity” since Trotter asked a similar question at the Super Bowl the year before.

Goodell, speaking at the NFL owners’ meetings, denied that he had anything to do with Trotter’s dismissal.

“I wasn’t a part of that decision and actually was just made aware of it about 10 minutes before I walked in here,” Goodell said. “So no, I don’t believe that had anything to do with it.”

The world may never know.