Ram’s owner threatens NFL over St. Louis lawsuit, and the league could be out of billions if he follows up

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Rams owner Stan Kroenke is unlikely to be a very popular person at the next NFL owners’ meeting, and that’s because he’s basically issued a threat that could end up costing the other 31 owners billions of dollars if he follows up. on it.

The NFL and the league’s 32 owners are currently the defendants in a lawsuit surrounding Ram’s decision to leave St. Louis. Louis. The lawsuit, which was originally filed by the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, all the way back in 2017, are currently scheduled to go to court on January 10th.

With the NFL facing the reality of a lawsuit date now less than two months away, Kroenke is now doing everything he can to try to settle the lawsuit. According to an e-mail obtained by the Sports Business Journal, Kroenke’s representatives believe that the case can be settled for somewhere between $ 500 million and $ 750 million (Kroenke had already offered a $ 100 million settlement, but was rejected).

From a legal standpoint, the other NFL owners apparently feel that Kroenke should be on the hook for the entire settlement because of a compensation agreement he signed when the Rams moved out of St. Louis. Louis after the 2015 season. Kroenke, however, does not feel the same way away.

According to the email he sent, Kroenke has threatened to reach a settlement in the trial that would only concern him, meaning the other 31 teams are still due in court on January 10. The only way Kroenke will not go through with this threat is if the other 31 teams agree to share the cost of whatever the final settlement number ends up being.

“If we still do not receive any assurances from the league regarding award (of injuries), we have no choice but to try to resolve the matter only on behalf of Rams and Mr. Kroenke,” reads the email via SBJ. “We do not want to do that. We want everyone’s participation – or some assurance from the league that a settlement will be distributed fairly. But we have not been given that security to date, nor any suggestion that the league will try to decide the case and address assignment later. “

A report by ESPN in late October has indicated that Kroenke is trying to withdraw on his promise to pay the entire settlement because he does not believe he is legally obligated to reject the money. Kroenke has covered the costs of the case, but he does not believe that the language of the compensation agreement requires him to pay the settlement if the NFL loses or decides the case (Pro Football Talks Mike Florio outlined here why Kroenke actually has a pretty strong legal leg to stand on ).

According to the same ESPN story, some owners fear the verdict against them could end up being billions of dollars if the NFL loses the case. If the NFL does not agree to split the settlement with Kroenke, it is easy to see a situation where the Rams owner walks into the mediation room and offers a figure below $ 500 million to settle the case, while telling the plaintiffs that they can get billions. more as the lawsuit continues against the rest of the NFL. For example, if Kroenke settles for $ 200 million, the plaintiffs could use it as a springboard for potential damages from each team during the trial (if all 32 teams had to pay $ 200 million, that would be $ 6.2 billion for the plaintiffs).

The lawsuit lists all 32 NFL teams (and their owners) as defendants. The lawsuit was filed because the plaintiffs feel that Rams “violated the obligations and standards of team transfers” by moving the franchise. Basically, St. Louis, that the Rams broke the NFL’s guidelines for relocation when they traveled, and the other teams are to blame because they voted to let the Rams relocate.

The NFL has been hit after hits in this case, which is probably one of the reasons Kroenke wants to make sure the lawsuit does not reach the lawsuit. Among the hits: The plaintiffs gained access to the financial records of several prominent individuals in the NFL, including League Commissioner Roger Goodell; owners Kroenke, Jerry Jones (Cowboys), Robert Kraft (Patriots) and John Mara (Giants); and former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. The NFL was also shot down recently as they tried to get the case moved out of St. Louis. Louis.

Unfortunately for the NFL, it will not have much time to decide whether they will accept Kroenke’s terms. The Rams have mediation on Nov. 23, meaning league owners will likely have to decide before then whether they are willing to share the cost of any potential settlement.

Whatever happens, it is safe to say that Kroenke will not be the most popular guy in the league for the next few years.