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.