Jim Trotter Damar Hamlin

Jim Trotter filed a civil lawsuit against the NFL this week for retaliation and racial discrimination, but he is also exposing the control the league office has over NFL Network. Trotter accused league officials of telling him to “stand down” and threatening to report him to his bosses over his reporting on the league office’s push to resume Bills-Bengals in Week 17 last season.

According to Pro Football Talk, Trotter asked NFL VP of Communications Brian McCarthy to grant him an interview with the NFL rep who contacted the teams and instructed them to return to the field to resume play after Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on-field in the first quarter.

McCarthy allegedly told Trotter “I will call your supervisor if you don’t let this go.”

Afterward, Trotter alleged, NFL Network executive editor told Trotter to “stand down” despite other external reporters confirming the NFL’s desire to resume that game.

“This entire incident makes it very clear that the NFL controls NFL Media, throttles content that is critical of the NFL and will not hesitate to silence employees who speak out regarding matters that are unfavorable to the league,” Trotter’s suit alleges.

Trotter’s complaint backs up the story from Joe Buck and ESPN from January. Buck said ESPN rules analyst John Parry heard directly from the NFL that the game would resume after a five-minute warmup. And ESPN released a statement that its broadcasts reported what the NFL said “in the moment” and “refrained from speculation.”

Trotter is building a case that he was let go by the NFL because he pushed back on league policies too aggressively. He already exposed racist comments from multiple owners. But he is also clearly looking to show the world how things really work behind the scenes in the league.

[Pro Football Talk]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.