Photo Credit: ESPN
The settlement offer that Seth Wickersham mentioned in his ESPN article last month was revealed by A.J. Perez, senior reporter for Front Office Sports. The offer, mentioned by Jeff Pash, the NFL’s General Counsel that was “worth than more than some people in that room” was $100 million. A lawsuit that has been ongoing for 4 ½ years, and the best offer the defendants, namely Stan Kroenke, can offer the plaintiffs is $100 million. Stan Kroenke, according to Forbes, is worth $10 billion alone. Stan Kroenke is being shrewd again, trying to “buy” this lawsuit and end it, like he did when he bought the Rams and ended their time in St. Louis.
Howard Balzer mentioned Kroenke helped move the Rams to St. Louis as a minority owner, but in the early 2000s, he was on the NFL to Los Angeles commission. He got his wish in 2016 when he could relocate, but it is coming at a steep price to him, hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly billions, if it proceeds to trial. He must pay all fees, or he violates the indemnification clause.
Stan Kroenke is trying to avoid the indemnification mess he backed himself into, and the legal repercussions that come with it. Kroenke agreed to move the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles after winning the secret ballot 30 votes to 2, the two votes being Arizona Cardinals’ owner, Michael Bidwill, and former Carolina Panthers owner, Jerry Richardson, as reported by Randy Karraker of 101ESPN St. Louis. Bidwill’s father moved the Cardinals to Phoenix from St. Louis in 1988, and Richardson, deposed earlier in discovery, formerly owned the Carolina Panthers and favored the Carson Project the Raiders and Chargers brought forth in the race for L.A. back in 2015-16. He was on the Los Angeles Committee that voted for the Carson Project in favor of Inglewood, Kroenke’s project 5-1.
Simply put, Stan Kroenke is paying all attorney fees and litigation matters for the defendants, the National Football League and its 32 owners. Stan Kroenke is trying to fight this clause, and he recently has threatened to sue the NFL over this clause. His actions rival Al Davis’ tactics brought forth in the early 1980s when he threatened to sue the NFL as he fought for the Raiders to be allowed to move to Los Angeles from Oakland. Stan Kroenke thought each owner would be paying their own legal fees, but he thought wrong. New York Giants owner John Mara was aghast, and he was quoted in Wickersham’s article: “[i]f we knew you would not be paying these fees, we (the owners) would not have voted for your project.” This is more than likely why the plaintiffs requested to re-depose Stan Kroenke on video a week ago.
The plaintiffs hold all the cards in their hands after the Missouri Appellate Court shot down the NFL’s writ to change venues. The NFL fears St. Louis has “home-field advantage.” Stan Kroenke is afraid he will be exposed for the shrewd owner he is, for the guy who promised to do whatever it took to keep the Rams in St. Louis when he bought them in 2010 only to relocate them six years later.