St. Louis settlement allocation remains unresolved

Super Bowl LVI - Los Angeles Rams v Cincinnati Bengals
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Now that the 2021 season has ended with the Rams winning the Super Bowl, a significant in-season legal setback must be addressed, eventually.

As explained by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal, the question of whether Rams owner Stan Kroenke will pay all or most of the $790 million settlement with St. Louis still lingers.

At the time the case was settled at mediation by the NFL’s lawyers — for an amount less than Kroenke’s lawyers would have agreed to pay to St. Louis, as a source with knowledge of the dynamics previously explained it to PFT — the league’s position was simple. The money would be charged to Kroenke’s account. In other words, the league would subtract the $790 million from payments made to the 32 teams via shared revenue, such as the multi-billion-dollar broadcasting deals.

Fischer reports that many owners still regard the situation as “an open-and-shut case,” given that Kroenke agreed to indemnify his partners upon securing permission to move the team from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Kroenke’s position was and still is that the implosion of the common defense wasn’t his fault. His lawyers have blamed, for example, arguments made by the Chargers and Raiders during the competition for L.A. relocation approval as providing the blueprint for the St. Louis lawsuit. Likewise, Kroenke may contend that deposition testimony from other owners (particularly Panthers founder Jerry Richardson) backed the league into a corner, forcing the massive payment to conclude a case the league initially regarded as a pimple on its posterior.

As PFT explained at the time, the indemnity language contains a gaping loophole. By referring only to “costs,” the obligation arguably doesn’t encompass the settlement or judgment.

And while the league would surely take the position that the Commissioner must resolve all relevant legal questions (a handy device for stacking the deck), Kroenke would have a potential avenue to take the fight to court, arguing that the arbitration obligation extends only to the costs that should be paid, and not to the question of whether the settlement constitutes an indemnified cost.

The matter will be discussed at the March meetings, per Fischer. A resolution isn’t expected.

If a fight ensues, it could have real ramifications for the league office, and specifically for general counsel Jeff Pash and the outside lawyers who drafted the indemnity paperwork. If a judge concludes that the ball was dropped on the fairly simple question of whether the paperwork was properly written, the fault begins with the lawyers who wrote it, and it extends to the general counsel who approved it.

Ultimately, the buck (all 790 million of them) stops on the desk of Roger Goodell.

16 responses to “St. Louis settlement allocation remains unresolved

  1. You’re the heiress of Wal-Mart. And Stan freaking Kroenke was the best you could do????

  2. It’s incredible how such a poorly incompetent bunch of rich greedy owners can make so much money. It’s because despite the fact they’re a bunch of bumbling idiots everyone loves to watch NFL games.

    Thank you players!!!

  3. Stan Kroenke was interviewed on NFL Network just before the parade started. The reporter asked about the journey to bring a Super Bowl to LA. Stan began: “We wanted to this for a number of years …” then he paused and pivoted to “the NFL has a process and we followed that process.” AWKWARD.

  4. Regardless of where the money comes from, the public officials in St. Louis greatly failed their constituents with the low ball settlement.

  5. Good. This money will never make it past the St Louis City Council. It will magically disappear.

  6. Roger Goodell, at what point will he fall on the sword. He’s had a league full of scandal and lawsuits. Allegations of tanking, the way he swept the Washington Commanders sexual scandal under the rug. In America, if all this were going on in a regular company, the boss would have to step down. Why is Roger Goodell different? Oh yeah, Billionaire Boys Club Puppet!

  7. I remember when they used to put a Los Angeles Ram in the same category as a unicorn, the lochness monster and Bigfoot in St Louis.

    They sure look real now hoisting that Lombardi Trophy! Super Bowl Champs!

  8. And here is why the bogus flag was thrown on Logan Wilson late in the SB, folks.

    The games aren’t fixed, but they are so clearly manipulated. Goodell has been trying to pump money into LA for 3 years starting with the bagjob in NOs.

    If there was any close officiating help the Rams could have gotten vs NE in that SB, it would have happened. Thankfully, NE played a pinpoint tight no penalty style game to avoid any funny business.

  9. I was pretty happy for the Rams, the coaches, the players and their 736 fans in LA, but geez was I bummed that Kroenke got to hold up that trophy.

  10. Imagine a frugal owner like Mike Brown finding out he’s gotta pay St. Louis $25M from his own pocket because Kroenke wanted to make his team one of the most valuable in the NFL. This is not something some of these owners will ever forgive.

  11. Nothing here! The league made sure Kroenke was taken care of by the way the officials called the game in the last 2 minutes. Kroenke will pay the millions. He just bought a Super Bowl. No one, the league or Kroenke, will want this matter to see the light of day.

  12. hornedhell says:
    February 18, 2022 at 10:13 am

    I remember when they used to put a Los Angeles Ram in the same category as a unicorn, the lochness monster and Bigfoot in St Louis.

    They sure look real now hoisting that Lombardi Trophy! Super Bowl Champs!


    Of course, the first Rams Super Bowl win came in St. Louis, with the Greatest Show on Turf, a renowned team that will always be remembered.

    This one has come to a boring, soulless team of mercenaries whose team bought their way to a trophy. The collective yawn of a victory parade and rally highlighted by a photographer breaking her back and being turned away from by a drunk Stafford seems the perfect wretched and empty note for this “team” to end on.

  13. Case settles sort of Rams get a SB in a new stadium. Same as Brady getting a home SB the year he switched teams. WWE. Who gets the next bag besides the refs & Vegas?

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