This morning, Pro Football Talk tweeted out the first look NFL fans have gotten at longtime NFL reporter Jim Trotter’s discrimination suit against the NFL.
Trotter’s suit, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, names the National Football League and NFL Network, Trotter’s former employer, as defendants. The complaint filed on Trotter’s behalf spans a full 53 pages, but PFT tweeted out a few of the allegations contained therein, including allegations of statements that confirm that racial equality is still a big problem in the NFL.
Remember all those “End Racism” block letters in the endzones? Take a look at what Trotter alleges owners Jerry Jones and Terry Pegula have said in his presence. Trotter’s lawsuit alleges, in part:
4) As one such example, Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Bills, stated inteference to player protests against racial injustice that, “If the Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is.” See infra at SIII(D).
Mr. Trotter says he raised complaints and concerns about this remark, but no action was taken.
6. As another example, Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, responded to a question posed by Mr. Trotter regarding the dearth of Black professionals in decision making positions for NFL teams by stating, “If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire.” See infra at SIII(C). Mr. Trotter raised complaints and concerns about this remark but no remedial action was taken.
For his part, Pegula quickly issued a statement denying Trotter’s accusations.
“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,” Pegula said. “Racism has no place in our society and I am personally disgusted that my name is associated with this complaint.”
The revelation of Jones’ comments, specifically, come less than a year after that infamous photo of the Cowboys owner joining in on a crowd of students attempting to block six Black students as they tried to desegregate North Little Rock High School. That picture should have been enough of a smoking gun for anyone who doubted Jones’ views on race, but Jones’ supporters argued that the picture was taken decades ago and that people change and evolve. Well.
As for Pegula, here’s the statement he and his wife, Kim, released back in April of 2021, following the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd:
“Today’s verdict brings accountability for the senseless murder of George Floyd, but the fight to end racism and hate in our country continues. There is so much more work to be done.
Our organizations are continuously learning how to be a productive part of the movement against racial injustices.
We urge everyone to focus on love and equality to peacefully make change.”
This is developing story. Deadspin will continue to update this page as more information becomes available.
[Editor’s note: This piece has been corrected to reflect that the Little Rock 9 attended Little Rock Central High School. The group of Black students attempting to desegregate North Little Rock High School were a separate and distinct group.]