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Jim Trotter: Not Attacking Roger Goodell With Question About Diversity in NFL Media

“All I’m asking is that the league’s actions reflect their words. And to this point that’s not what we have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Jim Trotter

NFL.com columnist Jim Trotter had the chance last week in Phoenix ahead of the Super Bowl to ask NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the league’s ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Trotter’s been at NFL Media for five years, and he pointed out to Goodell – much like he did in Los Angeles at last year’s Super Bowl – that in his time working for the league there has yet to be any Black representation in the newsroom’s senior management. In his question, he also cited league data that the player population was 60-70% Black. Goodell spoke from a broader perspective on league-wide initiatives to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion and said he didn’t run the newsroom at NFL Media.

Trotter said he felt like the newsroom leadership is not reflective of the community that it covers, so he needed to ask Goodell about it again.

“So I knew I had asked him about it the year before, and I knew there had been no real progress as it relates to the areas that I asked him about a year earlier,” Trotter said in his recent appearance on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch. “So I felt that it was important to ask him in that situation because it’s not something I haven’t brought up internally over the course of the last year with the powers that be at the media group.”

Trotter said he wasn’t using his question as a “gotcha” opportunity.

“Some people think I’m attacking the commissioner. I am not attacking the commissioner,” he said. “All I’m asking is that the league’s actions reflect their words. And to this point that’s not what we have. And I believe that it is critically important for there to be Black representation in senior management in the newsroom based on the fact that we cover a player population – again according to league data – that is 60-70% Black.

“Because if we don’t have that, it means that there’s no one who looks like these players or has the same cultural experience that these players have had at the decision-making table when they are deciding how these men are covered, who covers them and when they’re covered,” Trotter added. “So for me, that is an issue.”

Trotter said in terms of Goodell acting like he was unfamiliar with who’s in senior management at NFL Media, he found that hard to believe.

“The reality is the league office sets our budget at NFL Media. They know who the employees are and who they are not,” Trotter said. “The senior management at NFL Media has to report its diversity numbers to the league as does every other department at the NFL. If he is unaware of these things the people directly under him who are responsible for these issues should know these numbers.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Charles Barkley Retirement Announcement

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from Charles Barkley on Club Shay Shay
Screengrab: Club Shay Shay on YouTube

Charles Barkley said on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals that he will retire from television after next season, no matter what happens with TNT and the league. Near the conclusion of the NBA TV postgame show, Barkley said:

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley went on to say that he wants to turn the baton over to someone like Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter should Inside the NBA continue with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

TNT put out a statement that said, “Charles is a Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon who is and will always be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family. We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Several in sports media took to social media to post about their thoughts on Barkley’s career with TNT or wondering if Barkley’s ‘retirement’ is real:

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Charles Barkley Announces He Will Retire From TV After Next Season

“Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screenbrad from NBA TV with Charles Barkley
Screengrab: NBA TV

Charles Barkley is not waiting. After voicing his frustration several times with the way the media rights negotiations have been handled by his current employer, Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT, Barkley is no longer waiting for them to make a decision, he has announced his own decision.

After Game 4 of the NBA Finals concluded between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Barkley took time on the postgame show on NBA TV to announce no matter what happens, he will retire as an NBA commentator after next season, which will be his 25th with TNT.

“I’ve been thinking guys,” Barkley said “I want to say this, because you guys are my family. I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years and I just want to say thank you to my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.

“But I am going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me, because I am not doing any more interviews, don’t y’all be calling me, nobody calling me, I am not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I am not going to another network, but I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or you Steve [Smith]. Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

The NBA’s current media rights agreements with Disney/ESPN and WBD/TNT expire after next season. Many reports have said the NBA will soon sign agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon to be the league’s new broadcasting partners beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal has reported the total value of the new media rights packages is expected to be $76 billion over 11 years.

Rumors of a possible fourth media package being made in order for the NBA to keep its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports going have surfaced, but it looks like either way there will be changes coming to Inside the NBA, the award-winning show Barkley is a part of along with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

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FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

Barrett Sports Media

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The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

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