As the Rams apparently prepare to move back to Los Angeles, the NFL is doing the best it can to retain the perception that it controls the process. Even if it ultimately doesn’t.
According to Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the NFL issued a memo on Monday reminding all teams that the league, not any one team, will decide who (if anyone) moves to Los Angeles.
The memo explains that the NFL has formed a “Committee on Los Angeles Opportunities,” which will include Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants co-owner John Mara, Texans owner Bob McNair, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, and Steelers owner Art Rooney II.
Says the memorandum, per Farmer: “In particular, as has been discussed on numerous occasions and confirmed in various memoranda, any decision to resume NFL team operations in Los Angeles will require multiple approvals from NFL ownership, which can only be granted by a three-fourths vote of the clubs. These decisions include selection of a stadium site; approval of stadium lease and financing arrangements; and debt ceiling and sharing waivers (if needed); relocation consent and terms; and Super Bowl awards, among other subjects. A key role of this Special Committee will be to preserve the voting rights of the clubs on each of these important issues.”
That’s fine, but the fact remains that any effort by 31 different businesses to tell one business how (and where) it will do business becomes a potential violation of the antitrust laws. Late Raiders owner Al Davis fought that fight and won it three decades ago. If Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to do the same thing, he could win, too.
The real question is whether Kroenke is willing to dare his partners to try to stop him — and to fight them in court if they do.