Fun times on the Stan Kroenke & NFL front. The best thing to do is sit back, monitor new and even crazier developments, and giggle like a hyena. This is getting really good, with Kroenke turning on the league and his fellow owners in a new brawl that has created hilarious conflict and commotion.
When you have greedy billionaires piling up legal bills and spitting rage as they try to eat each other’s faces — metaphorically speaking, of course — take pleasure in knowing this: the stress and anxiety and pressure created by the all-out blitz from St. Louis has these people behaving like rabid squirrels. We’re the boa constrictor, and few outside of STL envisioned that.
The next time the NFL owners meet to discuss this St. Louis mess, we may hear sordid tales of Kroenke and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones being surrounded by other angry rich white men wielding canes.
Septuagenarians beating on each other with sticks? Look, that probably won’t happen … but the idea of an NFL “Scarface” is too juicy to resist.
Oh the horror.
Kroenke’s unique hair sculpture may become a victim, leaving the faithful lackey Kevin Demoff crying as he retrieves it from the ground.
St. Louis declared legal war on the NFL and Kroenke in the aftermath of the Rams’ move to Los Angeles, a tawdry transfer made possible by the league’s corrupt relocation process. The fix was in and the Rams were gone.
Since the STL lawyers went on the attack, the locals have won virtually every round of this clash. And as each court ruling and rejected appeal go against them, the NFL is running out of remedies and arrogance.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is maintaining a bold posture in his defense of Kroenke, but the at some point the cowards will have to stand up to Jerrah and Stan and prove that (A) testosterone treatments work, and (B) they’re willing to fight back, intervene and make a deal to keep their secrets from being aired in open court should the the scheduled Jan. 10 trial gets underway as planned. For now, Kroenke has them on the run. And this legal match is still being played on STL’s home field.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas for St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and thousands in the Show-Me State who view Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke as the grinch who stole professional football from St. Louis.
According to reporting by Sports Business Journal, Kroenke and his legal team are playing a game of bah humbug with the NFL and his fellow owners which could further hasten an unprecedented payday for the plaintiffs from St. Louis.
According to SBJ’s Ben Fischer, who in his reporting cited an email sent to both the league and all other 31 clubs, Kroenke’s reps want to settle the case and believe they can for $500-750 million.
Details from CBS Sports:
With the NFL facing the reality of a trial date that’s now less than two months away, Kroenke is now doing everything possible to try and settle the lawsuit.
According to an email obtained by the Sports Business Journal, Kroenke’s reps believe the suit can be settled for somewhere between $500 million and $750 million (Kroenke had already offered a $100 million settlement, but got turned down).
From a legal standpoint, the other NFL owners apparently feel that Kroenke should be on the hook for the entire settlement due to an indemnification agreement he signed when the Rams moved out of St. Louis following the 2015 season. However, Kroenke doesn’t feel the same way.
According to the email he sent, Kroenke has threatened to make a settlement in the lawsuit that would only pertain to him, which means the other 31 teams would still have to go to trial on Jan. 10. The only way Kroenke won’t go through with this threat is if the other 31 teams agree to split the cost of whatever the final settlement number ends up being.
Indeed, the Kroenke-camp email obtained by Sports Business Journal contained an obvious threat:
“If we continue to not get any assurances from the league regarding allocation (of damages), we will have no choice but to try to resolve the case on behalf of only the Rams and Mr. Kroenke. We do not want to do that. We want everyone’s participation — or some assurance from the league that a settlement will be allocated fairly. But we have not gotten that assurance to date, nor any suggestion that the league will try to settle the case and address allocation later.”
This is hardly shocking.
Everyone is still paying for the damage caused by the kids that picked on Kroenke and made fun of his shabby clothes during his unhappy childhood in rural Missouri. This set off a lifelong revenge tour. He married into wealth, and has increased his fortune, and is winning on the only scoreboard that matters to him. But this rich man still has many broken pieces inside. And his money can’t fix that.
When Kroenke enters his latest battle — whatever it may be — he’s fighting those small-town kids who bullied him. Kroenke has a history of suing partners after business relationships sour. He doesn’t hesitate to start tossing bombs to prevent, or limit, any financial disadvantage. Kroenke isn’t much of a winner, competitively, in the sports-competition arena. But that’s no surprise; he’s much more interested in winning legal skirmishes and punishing former partners once he’s done with them.
The NFL owners should take this seriously. And the NFL should settle the St. Louis case and pay, pay, and pay before the internal nastiness erodes their personal fortunes. Next week’s scheduled media session between the two sides should let us know if the NFL is ready to play ball. Or should I say “pay” ball?
Of course, with each new story about STL vs. NFL and Kroenke, expansion chatter enters the conversation.
Patrick Rishe wrote this in Forbes:
“How much will the St. Louis plaintiffs be awarded in a settlement should a settlement arise? Based on the reporting from both ESPN and SBJ in recent weeks, and taking into consideration my assessments of likely damages to be paid by all parties combined (Kroenke, the NFL, the other 31 teams), I believe the final damages assessment between $2-4 billion. Referencing the afore-mentioned email and Kroenke’s alleged estimate of being able to settle for between $500-750 million, it is my assessment and read on the case that Kroenke will eventually face damages closer to $1 billion.
“What about the scenario of the NFL gifting St. Louis a future expansion franchise to avoid billions in cash damages? It is likely the NFL will eventually expand beyond 32 teams, and when they do, St. Louis would likely be among the markets considered for expansion. But as much as the NFL and other owners might wish to avoid a settlement in the billions, it is unlikely the league gifts an expansion franchise to St. Louis at this time. Too much bad blood between the two parties at the moment, and there would still need to be a viable ownership group in St. Louis and a new stadium.”
OK, back to Bernie …
I’m not exactly rooting for Kroenke in this high-risk challenge to other owners. But I definitely appreciate how he’s making their lives miserable, and pressuring them to make a deal — or else.
They deserve all of this.
After all, the other NFL owners (except for two) signed off on this unscrupulous agreement to allow the Rams to abandon St. Louis after the city had done its part to keep the team by arranging for more than $400 million in public money to fund a new stadium on the north riverfront.
A select committee of owners strongly recommended that the league should reject the Kroenke-LA plan and go with the alternative option of a stadium in the Los Angeles suburbs to be shared by the Chargers and Raiders. But with Jones twisting arms the owners capitulated, sacrificed whatever integrity remained, and appeased Kroenke. At that point, the owners who agreed to join the Kroenke crew became part of a nefarious fix that stripped the Rams from St. Louis in a clear violation of the league’s own rules.
These owners had a choice. They could have rejected this hustle, this scheme. They could have displayed a backbone to stand on principle. But they didn’t do that. Instead the owners reaffirmed that they were cartel members who followed orders. And with that came their decision to enable Kroenke, trash the relocation guidelines, and act like small-time, banana-republic gangsters. And if these weaklings are fretting about taking a huge financial hit and having their secrets being revealed — well, good.
Do you expect St. Louis to feel sorry for you?
We trusted the NFL owners to abide by their own relocation rules and treat St. Louis fairly. That was a naive fantasy.
As it’s been said many times: what goes around, comes around.
And here comes Kroenke, threatening to go after other owners. Boo-hoo. This is what the owners signed up for when they signed on with the Stan plan. This is what they set themselves up for when they bowed down to the wishes of bullies in the cabal. They knew they were wrong, but didn’t give a damn.
Ah, but now these same fine NFL citizens suddenly care about Kroenke’s apparent refusal to follow the established guidelines that were set in place when he received their permission to move?
Go sit down. Get on outta here. You franchise owners didn’t follow the guidelines when you cravenly screwed St. Louis.
It’s a delight to know that hypocrite NFL owners are bitterly complaining about Kroenke double-crossing them by attempting to renege on his indemnity agreement.
You don’t say?
Y’all had no reason to anticipate something like this from Stan the Sham, right?
Well, now these owners know how St. Louis football fans feel, and why so many here were hurting after Kroenke and his brethren misled and double-crossed St. Louis by lying about the relocation covenant.
Now it’s their turn, and that’s great.
In St. Louis we operated in good faith, only to be left with nothing by bad-faith actors and con men. Kroenke lied to St. Louis, and now he’s lying to the other NFL owners who assumed he’d uphold his commitment to them. That was a mistake; we know all about that here. Kroenke burned St. Louis, and now he’s trying to burn down the NFL’s house. He has no conscience, and that means that he has no limits.
Look at them now. Hear them now. The rats inside the NFL are squealing and scampering in search of an escape. They are chewing through electrical wires, climbing up the legs of chairs, trying to slide under the cracks of doorways, and clawing to burrow under floorboards. The owners empowered and emboldened the biggest rat of them all, and now Kroenke is coming for them.
To quote the late Dr. Hunter Thompson: The hog is in the tunnel.
Thanks for reading …
And I hope you have a great weekend.
Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at 590thefan.com — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.
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