The NFL wants to move the trial regarding the relocation of the Rams out of St. Louis almost as badly as the NFL wanted to move the Rams out of St. Louis.
Via ConductDetrimental.com, the NFL has filed an emergency appeal of the trial judge’s recent decision to not move the trial to a different county in Missouri, where the jurors would not be residents of St. Louis. The basic argument is that the NFL can’t get a fair trial in St. Louis.
Frankly, the belated effort to change the venue for the lawsuit seems to be an attack less on the jury pool and more on the judge. With the NFL apparently unwilling to file a motion to disqualify the judge (“when you come at the king, you best not miss”), the next best thing would be to find a different jury pool, one with citizens that would be less inclined to react to the messages, subtle or otherwise, that could emanate from the things the judge says and does in their presence. (And if you don’t think that’s a real concern when trying a case, you’re either not a lawyer — or not a very good one.)
The notion that jurors automatically will have a bias against the NFL grossly overstates the extent to which local citizens care about pro football. Hard as it may be for the average pro football fan to digest this, most don’t care. That’s why most efforts to publicly fund football stadiums hinge on an end run around the ballot box.
In the end, it’s just another effort by the NFL to avoid its reckoning. It also would be naive not to think that the effort is aimed at giving the lawyers a built-in excuse if/when they get their asses kicked in open court.
That’s how it always works. When big-money interests that are used to getting their way without scrutiny or consequence suddenly encounter both, the explanation can’t be that their lawyers weren’t good enough. Instead, the lawyers will cite corruption and/or incompetence by the judge and the jury as the main reason for their failure. What better way to set that up than by whining about corruption and/or incompetence before the trial even starts?