St. Louis lawsuit documents raise important questions for Stan Kroenke’s partners

·3 min read

In 2016, Rams owner Stan Kroenke stuck it to St. Louis by moving the team to Los Angeles. Now, Kroenke is hoping to stick it to his partners, by getting them to pay a big chunk of the $790 million bill arising from the settlement of the St Louis litigation against the league.

Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a great look at the questions Kroenke’s partners should be raising, both for the Rams and the league office, as to the possibility that Kroenke won’t be expected to honor his promise to indemnify his partners.

Frederickson, armed with cold, hard facts flowing from the documents secured by the Post-Dispatch, paints a picture of the Rams being in cahoots with the league office as to the relocation of the Rams. Frederickson caps his column with a fair question: “Was spreading around the fallout of whatever legal baggage Kroenke created during relocation the inner circle’s plan from the start?”

The league office crafted a grossly substandard indemnity provision that may allow Kroenke to wiggle out from under his alleged promise to pay full freight for any lawsuits arising from the move. As Frederickson notes, “Either [NFL general counsel Jeff] Pash and his people messed up, or Pash and his people left Kroenke an out.”

It’s more clear than ever that Commissioner Roger Goodell knew Kroenke planned to build a stadium on land he’d purchased in Inglewood before Goodell publicly professed ignorance at a press conference in early 2014.

“We now know Goodell, thanks to diligent notes kept by Pash, was on an October 2013 teleconference with Kroenke, Texans owner Bob McNair and Steelers owner Art Rooney II in which Kroenke shared with the Commissioner and the two influential owners his plans for quietly acquiring the Hollywood Park racetrack site in Inglewood where SoFi Stadium now resides,” Frederickson writes. “Goodell, who would later champion the merits of the league’s relocation guidelines, lied boldly on Kroenke’s behalf before the Super Bowl in 2014. ‘There are no plans to my knowledge of a stadium development,’ he said when asked about the land sale.”

If push comes to shove and if any dispute ever emerges over the indemnification agreement, it would land in the secret rigged kangaroo court of Roger Goodell. As Frederickson writes, “How could Goodell possibly make an unbiased call on this matter? The Commissioner’s big lie while covering for Kroenke was one of the brightest red flags in the relocation lawsuit. Goodell’s fib about Kroenke’s plans for Hollywood Park was a gift to the St. Louis lawyers who worked this case. Same for Pash’s notes. If Goodell demands a spreading around of Kroenke’s tab while protecting his staggering salary, he is forcing other owners to financially cover for his own mistake.”

It was and continues to be a huge mess for the league. And the story was and continues to be largely ignored by 99 percent of the media covering the NFL.

St. Louis lawsuit documents raise important questions for Stan Kroenke’s partners originally appeared on Pro Football Talk