Roger Goodell denies Jim Trotter claims, vows to investigate

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Roger Goodell says the NFL is making progress in diversity hiring and the commissioner said the league disputes claims raised in former NFL Media writer Jim Trotter’s lawsuit.

“I have a lot of respect for Jim,” Goodell said in an ESPN interview Wednesday. “A lot of our media business is going through changes. We dispute, obviously, his claims. We feel strongly about the progress we’re making.”

Among those claims, Trotter alleges his departure from NFL Media was retaliatory and racially motivated. Trotter, who is Black, claimed his employment at NFL Media ended earlier this year after he “challenged Commissioner Roger Goodell … regarding the NFL’s record of race discrimination and lack of diversity” at Goodell’s pre-Super Bowl press conference. NFL Media is owned and operated by the league.

NFL Network also is named as a defendant in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Goodell said economics impacted multiple decisions within the league media flow chart. He said the league would investigate claims in the suit, but denied vehemently Tuesday that Bills owner Terry Pegula and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones both made racist comments.

“Our job is to make sure that they’re factual,” Goodell said in an interview with ESPN. “These are not new charges. They’re actually a couple of years old. They’ve been looked into. You’ve heard the strong denials. There’s litigation ongoing now. It will be addressed because these are important issues and we share the same concerns. We want to make sure our workplaces are first class and that means opportunities for everybody. We know the importance of progress in diversity and we’re working very hard at it. Is progress where we want it to be? No, it’s always slower than you want it to be but I’m confident we’re moving in the right direction.”