Report: NFL owners upset with Stan Kroenke over expenses stemming from Rams’ move to LA

·2 min read

The Rams and other NFL owners have been involved in a lawsuit from the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex authority for the last four years following the team’s departure from St. Louis to Los Angeles. It’s been a costly lawsuit for Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the league, causing some internal frustration among team owners.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Wednesday that NFL owners are upset with Kroenke after learning that he “may be trying to back away from his promise to cover tens of millions of dollars in legal expenses” stemming from the Rams’ move to Los Angeles in 2016.

This discovery was made at the NFL owners meeting in New York on Tuesday, the league’s first in-person meeting since 2019. NFL general counsel Jeff Pash delivered the news, telling those in attendance that the league has been notified by Kroenke’s attorneys that Kroenke is “challenging the indemnification agreement” that the Rams, Chargers and Raiders signed back in 2016.

The case has entangled all 32 teams and cost millions in legal fees, which to this point have been mostly covered by Kroenke under an indemnification agreement he signed as part of the relocation. For some teams, the bills have run to eight figures.

Although Kroenke has been in discussions with the league for some time over the scope of the indemnification agreement, owners first learned of a shift in his position several hours into Tuesday’s meeting at the Intercontinental New York Barclay hotel.

According to Wickersham’s report, Jerry Jones spoke up and defended Kroenke, saying he has done a lot for the NFL and helped Los Angeles get a team after 22 years without one. Jones has been a strong backer of Kroenke through all of this and was instrumental in the Rams’ move to L.A., as well.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft wasn’t as supportive of Kroenke, however, expressing frustration with the hassle that has come from the Rams’ relocation and St. Louis’ lawsuit. Teams have been required to provide phone records and emails , while Kroenke and five other owners – Clark Hunt of the Chiefs, John Mara of the Giants, former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft – were all required to turn over financial records stemming from St. Louis’ lawsuit.

Next came Kraft, who sources said seemed to speak for many in the room that Kroenke’s position was unfair. He mentioned all the legal hassle that he had gone through. In 2016, he had served on a six-person LA committee. He argued that if providing financial records as a result of lawsuits would be a consequence of serving on league committees, it would dissuade other owners from wanting to be on committees and making consequential decisions for the league.

The trial in this ongoing lawsuit is set for January, just a month before Super Bowl LVI is set to be played at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.