ST. LOUIS — NFL owners continued a robust debate privately this week over whether they should be forced to help Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke pay for the league’s landmark $790 million legal settlement last fall with St. Louis officials. A lengthy discussion at the league’s annual meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, this week generated little progress. A five-member ad hoc committee has been created to develop possible solutions, sources confirmed to Sports Business Journal.
Ultimately, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has final authority to settle this dispute under the league’s constitution, but the ad hoc committee was described as an attempt to have owners find an amicable solution among themselves before submitting to final ruling from the commissioner. The membership of the committee is unknown. The NFL used a line of credit to pay the entire $790 million settlement in December. Most owners believe Kroenke is obligated to eventually cover that tab himself, based on an indemnification agreement Kroenke made prior to the controversial move from St. Louis to L.A. A typical way to handle that would be through deductions in the Rams’ distribution of shared revenue.
Kroenke argues the lawsuit only survived long enough to become a genuine threat to the NFL because of factors out of his control. For instance, his defenders argue that people associated with the competing stadium project in Carson, California, for the Raiders and Chargers provided information to the Missouri plaintiffs that helped inform their legal strategy.
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