Rams owner Stan Kroenke doesn’t back away from his obligations. Unless he does.
Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones proclaimed last year that Kroenke is a “man of principle” who “doesn’t back away” at a time when reporting suggested that Kroenke was trying to back away from his promise to indemnify his partners regarding the litigation filed following the relocation of the Rams, a significant portion of the $790 million settlement has been foisted upon the league’s teams.
Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com reports that the league has “quietly” taken $7.5 million from each team in connection with the settlement. This amounts to $232.5 million.
It’s unclear whether they’ll get the money back. Per Kaplan, some team executives complained that the situation has created budgeting issues, since they don’t know whether and when the money will be returned.
Kroenke’s argument for solely bearing the costs of the litigation but not the settlement comes from the indemnity provision crafted by the league and adopted by the owners. At least one owner previously, and privately, has characterized the failure of the indemnity provision to include the amount of the settlement “malpractice” by the lawyers.
Based on documents recently obtained from the litigation, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch raised the very fair question of whether the league may try to discreetly resolve the situation in order to cover up the mistake. Or maybe, as Frederickson also suggested, the mistake wasn’t really a mistake, but an escape hatch for Kroenke.
Time will tell what it all means. For now, though, there are real questions being asked about the fact that $232.5 million has been taken by the league to cover an obligation that most if not all owners thought would be covered by Kroenke and Kroenke alone.