The Rams have secured approval to return to Los Angeles, after a 21-year absence. Owner Enos Stanley Kroenke, known as “Silent Stan,” issued a statement to acknowledge the occasion.
“This has been the most difficult process of my professional career,” Kroenke said. “While we are excited about the prospect of building a new stadium in Inglewood, California, this is bitter sweet. St. Louis is a city known for its incredibly hard-working, passionate and proud people. Being part of the group that brought the NFL back to St. Louis in 1995 is one of the proudest moments of my professional career. Reaching two Super Bowls and winning one are things all St. Louisans should always treasure.”
Then Silent Stan (who more recently perhaps has been referred to in his native state as “Evasive Enos”) got a little defensive.
“While there understandably has been emotionally charged commentary regarding our motives and intentions, the speculation is not true and unfounded,” Kroenke said. “I am a Missouri native named after two St. Louis sports legends who I was fortunate enough to know on a personal level. This move isn’t about whether I love St. Louis or Missouri. I do and always will. No matter what anyone says, that will never change. This decision is about what is in the best long-term interests of the Rams organization and the National Football League. We have negotiated in good faith with the Regional Sports Authority for more than a decade trying to find a viable and sustainable solution. When it became apparent that we might not be able to reach an agreement, it was then and only then that we looked at alternatives.”
Kroenke’s statement will do little to make folks in St. Louis less upset with him. If anything, his decision to say things that he perhaps should have been saying throughout the process will only make it worse.
The locals largely believe that Kroenke coldly and calmly calculated his move, knowing full well that unless he was given the exact stadium upgrades promised by the lease that lured him to the Edward Jones Dome, he would take the team back to Los Angeles. Along the way, he chose to say nothing, they believe, because there was nothing he could really say; he apparently didn’t want to work with the local politicians to keep the team in St. Louis, he wanted to move, he announced plans to build a stadium before securing approval to move, and then he trashed the city he supposedly loves on his way out the door.
All or part of that may not be 100 percent factual. But legacies aren’t always based on fact; they’re often fueled by propaganda and spin. For Kroenke to say the bare minimum for years and then to suddenly profess his love for St. Louis after getting a one-way ticket out of town will not leave him with the kind of local legacy that, based on the statement he issued tonight, he clearly covets.