NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter at press conference at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No one at the NFL ever explicitly said that the NFL Media Group’s decision to not renew the contract of Jim Trotter over his longstanding public questioning of the company’s lack of diversity at the leadership level, but it was hard not to draw a direct line between the two things.

Trotter, who joined NFL Media in 2018, certainly thought the two were connected, saying in March that “I do believe it played a role in my contract not being renewed.” Even before that, after asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell why the NFL Media Group didn’t have more diverse leadership (for the second-consecutive year), Trotter said that no one from the league personally followed up with him afterward, which said everything it needed to say.

Given his bona fides, Trotter didn’t spend too much time unemployed as The Athletic swooped in and signed the veteran reporter and writer. Given that he declined a severance package that included an NDA, everyone has been waiting to find out what Trotter will have to say about his time with the NFL.

In his first piece for The Athletic, Trotter doesn’t spill all the tea, but he does set the table for what’s to come.

“My new role will allow me to jump headfirst into stories of interest,” Trotter wrote. “Many of my writings will continue to focus on the NFL; that’s where my expertise is. But I’m excited by the opportunity to weigh in elsewhere, to go where the brush closes behind as I move forward.

I love a good human-interest story, or an inside look at individual greatness, what it looks and smells and tastes like. But my greater focus — what I like to call my purpose — is giving a voice to those whose voices are not being heard.”

As for his previous role, Trotter makes it clear that he felt stifled while there and wasn’t able to do all of the reporting that he would have wanted to do.

“There is the freedom — and support — to write on topics of my choosing,” said Trotter of being at The Athletic. “I no longer have to worry about my words being watered down or silenced altogether, which was not always the case over my final two years with NFL Media Group, which is owned by the NFL.

“I thought I knew what I was getting into. I was told we would always report the news, though we might not opine on it. That was not the case, particularly when it came to reporting on team owners or the league office.”

Trotter has previously said that, in regards to how his time with NFL Media Group ended, he “will talk about that more later.” Given his stated objective to tell the news as it is, and not how his employer would want it told, we can’t wait to hear what he has to say.

[The Athletic]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to