x
Breaking News
More () »

Commentary: Avoiding trial in Rams lawsuit lets Kroenke, NFL off the hook too easy in St. Louis

"These guys were supposed to answer for what they did to St. Louis. Now they get to cut a check for less than a billion dollars and it's all over. Just like that?"

ST. LOUIS — I cannot even fathom what $790 million looks like. Heck, I'll probably never see 1% of that kind of money in my lifetime. But that number still rings hollow for myself, and a lot of others on Wednesday morning.

That's the settlement number 5 On Your Side's Frank Cusumano reported St. Louis city, county and Dome operators reached with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL in the team's relocation lawsuit.

And while that number is still massive, I think it leaves a lot of former Rams fans like me with disappointment.

These guys were supposed to squirm. Now they get to cut a check for less than a billion dollars and it's all over. Just like that?

RELATED: Rams, NFL agree to settle St. Louis lawsuit over team's relocation for $790 million, sources say

To quote the late NFL coach Dennis Green, "They are who we thought they were, and we let 'em off the hook."

Like a lot of things in life, perspective changes how you look at this case.

From one point of view, settling this lawsuit that was widely laughed at when it was introduced for nearly $800 million is a massive legal win. Nobody thought it would get to this point when the lawsuit was filed in 2017.

But from the outside looking in, the St. Louis legal team had the Rams, Kroenke and the league right where they wanted them. Going to a trial would have been potentially devastating for the NFL. That's what I wanted. I think that's what a lot of people wanted.

I never cared much about the payday. Sure, it's impossible to say that $790 million isn't nice, but there is absolutely no guarantee it's going to be used in a way that creates positive growth in the region. We're going to spend years at 5 On Your Side covering the back and forth over how this money is spent and what it goes to.

I wanted these crooks on the stand. Cutting a check for less than a billion dollars so Stan Kroenke, Kevin Demoff, Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell don't have to answer publicly for their deceit is incredibly depressing for those of us who watched the Rams relocation go down.

Did we all get swept up in this and let our minds wander outside the realm of realistic outcomes? Yeah, probably. I can tell you St. Louis was never going to get a new team out of this, that's for darn sure. And numbers like $10 billion being thrown out there likely weren't based in reality, either.

But they could have gotten a trial. They should have gotten a trial.

Yes, if St. Louis won in court for any big payday it likely would have taken years to resolve as part of the appeals process. The settlement is money right now.

And I understand the lawyers have to do what's in the best interest of who and what they're representing and taking this settlement will also put a nice payday in their pocket, but for the people who watched their football team callously ripped away from them, it wasn't about the money.

And in the end the NFL wins, because that's what the NFL does. Always.

Sure, this was a big hassle for Kroenke and the league, but in the grand scheme of things it's just another check written off as the cost of doing business.

The bottom line? St. Louis was done wrong. That's why $790 million is going to be changing hands. It's not nothing, but it's hard to feel like an outright win.

Everyone is going to forget about what happened here and how the league put the fix on our town.

I'm far from a lawyer, so maybe this was actually the best that could be done. We'll likely never know all the things going on behind the scenes. But in terms of serving up justice, a check for $790 million feels a lot less satisfying than seeing the people who disregarded their own rules and disparaged our town answer for what they did.

Related Stories