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Jim Trotter On NFL’s Failure to Hire Black Coaches: ‘I’m At a Loss For Words’

“I’m at a loss for words here because it truly is so frustrating and so exhausting, and just so unfair to these men who, all they want is an equal opportunity,”

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had to have known he would face questions about the league’s head-coach hiring practices in light of Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.

Even without Flores’ lawsuit, Goodell likely would’ve had to address the continued lack of minority hiring when nine head-coach positions were open and only two of them went to people of color. New Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel is biracial and the Texans hired Lovie Smith under what could be viewed as questionable circumstances with increased scrutiny over hiring Black coaches.

But the issue is at the forefront of concerns the NFL needs to deal with, so Goodell had to confront the league’s lack of diversity in hiring during his “State of the NFL” press conference on Wednesday. Posing questions on the matter was NFL Network’s Jim Trotter. (The call is coming from inside the house, Rog!)

Video of the exchange was aired on NFL Total Access, which you can see below:

Trotter began by pointing out that 24 of the NFL’s 32 franchises have either had one Black head coach or no Black head coaches. He named the 13 teams that have never hired a Black head coach, then mentioned that the league has never had a majority Black owner and only one Black team president. Seven general managers are Black, five hired in the past 12 months. And now, three Black head coaches, two hired after the Flores lawsuit.

“When we look at the league office, of the top 11 executives, there are only two people of color,” said Trotter. “When we look at NFL Media Group, where I work, there is not one Black person at the senior level in the newsroom who makes decisions about a league whose player population is 70 percent Black.”

“So as a member of the Media Group and as a Black man, I ask why does the NFL and its owners have such a difficult time at the highest levels hiring Black people into decision-making positions?”

Goodell gave what most would view as an evasive answer, saying the league believes in diversity but needs to look at its policies and procedures, and needs to do a better job.

Soon thereafter, Trotter appeared on San Francisco’s Damon & Ratto and talked about putting Goodell on the spot, but not getting a satisfactory answer.

“The thing that was fascinating to me today is when Roger said that no topic has dominated or created more discussion among the owners over the last four to five years than this diversity issue,” Trotter said.

“I’m listening to that and I’m saying, ‘Well, doesn’t that tell you then that you guys aren’t getting it right?’ Here we are, five years later, and we’re still talking about the same thing and the numbers are not actually increasing, but regressing.”

Trotter went on to express his frustration that team owners who haven’t hired Black coaches are on the league’s diversity and social justice committees. Yet when they have head-coach openings, they’re not hiring minorities for those positions.

“I’m at a loss for words here because it truly is so frustrating and so exhausting, and just so unfair to these men who, all they want is an equal opportunity,” said Trotter.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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