The NFL has responded to the lawsuit filed in September by former NFL Media reporter Jim Trotter.
In a four-page letter despatched Friday to U.S. District Court Judge Paul Crotty, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch explains that the NFL intends to file a motion to dismiss Trotter’s case. The letter additionally gives a glimpse into the league’s general place concerning the termination of Trotter’s employment.
“In March 2020, after an initial two-year contract, the NFL renewed Plaintiff’s contract for another three years,” Lynch writes. “In March 2023, Plaintiff’s contract expired and, as part of a broader cost-cutting measure and strategic shift away from traditional broadcast journalism and towards interactive media, the NFL made the decision not to renew the contracts of several reporters, including Plaintiff. That reasoning was communicated to Plaintiff and is well documented.”
Whether the league has certainly shifted “away from traditional broadcast journalist and toward interactive media” (no matter meaning) is irrelevant for now. However, it sheds mild on how the league will attempt to defend the case.
Trotter claims the choice was motivated in complete or partly by discrimination and retaliation, underneath federal, state, and native legislation.
Lynch contends that Trotter’s criticism is “fatally deficient” on its face. She writes that Trotter “does not plausibly allege that he engaged in any protected activity supporting” a declare for retaliation.
“Plaintiff does not allege that he complained, including through his reporting, about any such [discriminatory] practice by the NFL,” she explains. “His generalized allegations — that he questioned what he viewed as a ‘lack of diversity’ and was ‘skeptical’ of the NFL’s initiatives to promote diversity — do not suffice.”
She downplays Trotter’s questioning of the Commissioner at a February 2023 press convention concerning persistent lack of variety within the newsroom at NFL Media by stating Trotter “concedes that he posed the exact same questions to the Commissioner at a prior conference — and remained employed for more than a year afterward.”
Of course, his contract didn’t expire for greater than a 12 months afterward.
The letter additionally assaults in broad phrases Trotter’s discrimination declare, and it contends that he can not state claims underneath New York State or New York City legislation, as a result of he was a California resident working in California. (California legislation undoubtedly affords equal, if not larger, employment protections than New York legislation.)
She concludes by explaining that the NFL intends to search a keep of the invention course of pending decision of its motion to dismiss. Which signifies that they don’t need to hand over any paperwork or make any witnesses obtainable for questioning underneath oath till a choice is made on the motion to dismiss.
Attorney Doug Wigdor, who represents Trotter within the case, issued this remark: “We are very confident any motion to dismiss will be unsuccessful and is simply an attempt to delay which is why they are also requesting a stay of discovery.”
The NFL’s preliminary place is no surprise. This is how issues of this nature unfold. The defendant makes an attempt at each flip to brief circuit the case, hopeful that ultimately a trial will likely be prevented.
Notably absent from Lynch’s letter is any reference in any respect to an try to power the case into NFL-controlled arbitration. Trotter’s contract contained no such clause stopping him from in search of reduction in open court docket.
Thus, no matter how the case performs out, it’ll occur in a public discussion board and never within the NFL’s most popular venue — the key, rigged, kangaroo court docket into which a lot of the authorized claims towards the league are resolved.