Everybody is suing the NFL the last couple of years.
And the NFL keeps writing checks for the way they acted and the decisions they made.
So in the early morning hours on Wednesday, a Judge-Mediator convinces both sides, the city and county of St Louis, and the NFL and the Rams owner, to settle a 1.6B lawsuit out of court.
It comes just 5-weeks before the Rams relocation was going to take place, where St Louis was suing for major damages when the NFL allowed Stan Kroenke to move the Rams to Los Angeles.
Kroenke and the NFL agreed to pay 790M to St Louis for the league decision to let the Rams walkaway from St Louis for the riches of the second biggest market in the country.
At risk was not just the money involved, but the fact in discovery, lawyers would have put on the stand all the damning Emails, texts, phone calls, about what went on behind the scenes leading ujp to the NFL’s decision to allow the Rams to defect and return to LA.
The 790M payment is a staggering sum, considering Kroenke offered just 100M in his first settlement offer. It’s a staggering setback for St Louis, who estimated they wanted 1.6B in damages and then punitive damages piled on top of that.
The NFL, so insistent, that the relocation rules were followed, made bold statements, there was no reason to be in court. But it was all confounded by depositions given by former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue that the rules were ‘ironclad’, conflicted by Roger Goodell’s statements that what was written were only guidelines, not set in stone rules.
Imagine if this went to trial, what discovery would drag up on the stand. The negotiations. The Kroenke Emails dating back to 2013. The disregard of league bylaws. The financial records of legendary owners like Jerry Jones and Bob Kraft among others. And the Adios MF letter that the Rams president had written that would have been directed to the St Louis negotiators.
Quite a price the NFL paid, while still not admitting wrongdoing. Out of the goodness of their heart, they are giving St Louis this money. Right?
The Judge mediator spent two days in meetings with both sides. He reportedly told the NFL they have violated rules. He told St Louis you are owed damages. But he told both sides, you don’t want this to go to trial, to a verdict, and then to appeal. One would win. One would lose. Both would be badly damaged.
The only ones who would not lose are the lawyers. The St Louis legal team will get 276M…that’s 35% of the NFL payday.
Somebody in New York will pay the NFL’s lawyers…and that was not free.
Still unknown what is fact or fiction that someone representing the Chargers-Raiders leaked documents to the St Louis group trying to undermine the Kroenke blueprint to exit St Louis. As if the Chargers did nothing unsavory about how they blew off San Diego’s civic attempt to put together the funding for the Chargers Stadium.
The NFL must write a check by December 31st…pay in full to St Louis.
So much too for the continued pronouncements that the NFL wanted to take care of the home markets, words uttered by an NFL exec, not just in St Louis, but also in San Diego, when the city and county were trying to keep the Chargers from moving.
Kroenke has incurred alot of expenses with his move…but with net worth of 12B in his family estate, he probably looks at it as an investment.
These are the facts-figures of what Kroenke has done:
..200M to buy the Inglewood property
..650M in territorial fees they start paying on this year
..6B for building the entire So Fi Stadium Complex
..790M for the St Louis court settlement.
Do the math here…that’s over 7B-in expenditures to move back to Los Angeles.
The NFL can put out all the rhetoric it wants about ‘doing the right thing’, but it took a court case to admit rules were bent, disregarded or ignored in ‘not taking care’ of the home market, St Louis.
The first thing that went thru my mind was a reaction to how much money was going to St Louis.
The second was a sickening feeling, that this looked like the settlement of the NFL Concussions Lawsuits. We woke up 1-morning and the league was agreeing to write an 865M check for all the players and their families, damaged by concussions and the diseases and the tragic suicides that happened because of CTE.
All this years after ignoring the head injury issue, denying it, or trying to sweep it under the rug.
In both cases, the NFL acted as if there was nothing wrong.
The reality indeed is they were wrong…again…for how they acted.
Thank goodness there are NFL games and playoff races to watch this weekend.
That is better than sitting thinking about the greed-the arrogance-the lack of ethics of people who run the NFL or own the NFL teams. You think about the NFL League office on Park Avenue, it makes you want to vomit.
NFL Blood Money-that’s what we dealt with on Wednesday.
Back to the games on Thanksgiving-Thursday.