ST. LOUIS — The ongoing lawsuit between St. Louis and the Rams/NFL is picking up steam and making headlines on a weekly basis.
5 On Your Side sports director Frank Cusumano sat down with the two people who have been covering the case the closest to get some inside analysis. Cusumano chatted with 101 ESPN's Randy Karraker and St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson about recent developments, the most damaging things uncovered so far and any predictions they might have going forward.
You can watch the entire interview with Ben and Randy on our YouTube channel by clicking here.
Here's a summary of some of the eye-catching takeaways from the lawsuit so far.
Frank Cusumano: "What's your first big takeaway from what you've witnessed?"
Ben Frederickson: "I think the arguments that are going to appear in front of a jury trial eventually are going to be evolving around really what do the relocation guidelines mean? And the St. Louis side is saying, 'These are basically a contract. These lay out how a team has to move, and if you don't fulfill all of them you didn't do it right.'"
Randy Karraker: "To me, this thing seems so one-sided. And I know I'm biased. But I put my objective hat on, and I'm amazed at how this looks like a rout for St. Louis."
Cusumano: "If you had to bet right now, do you think there is going to be a trial?"
Karraker: "I think there will be a trial. Speaking to attorneys as late as today on my way down here, the big thing they want, the first thing St. Louis wants is to show publicly that St. Louis was done wrong by the NFL. The money is great, but it's secondary. The big thing is, for St. Louis to show publicly and have it be on the record that they were screwed by the NFL."
Frederickson: "The legal side of this, the NFL side is going to let this go through a trial and then immediately appeal whatever happens after that and try to fight that war. And bank that whatever they can get back on appeal will be worth the pain of going through the trial. And like Randy said... (we're) not aware of any settlement talks."
Cusumano: "The most glaring or damaging Kevin Demoff (Rams COO) quote (to come out so far) would be what?"
Frederickson: "All of the fun ones of course are when he's calling St. Louis 'Mf'ers' but that's just more color about how kind of terrible of a person Kevin Demoff is. The things about there being no 'secret plan', the emails about how to spin the land purchase for the stadium in California as something that was real estate or perhaps soccer-related and nothing to do with a football stadium, those are the things that jump out. Also sending to the league negative articles about St. Louis as the Rams were trying to get approval to leave. Those things jump out as this being not good faith negotiations for a team that was supposed to be working with its host city to try and find a way to stay."
Cusumano: "Doesn't it irk you that national perception of this whole suit is that the Rams had this top tier clause, they had the right to leave and they left and St. Louis just looks like some bad eggs?"
Karraker: "I think that's one of the things that needs to be pointed out and Judge McGraugh has pointed that out. This suit is not about the Dome lease, it's about everything after January 12 of 2016 when the approval was made and Eric Grubman coming to town and having meetings with Dave Peacock and Demoff sitting in about a new stadium and encouraging St. Louis."
Cusumano: "Last thing: prediction. What do you think ends up happening?"
Karraker: "I don't think St. Louis settles, and I do think that a St. Louis City jury will find in favor of St. Louis, the County and the RSA."
Frederickson: "I think it's headed that way. I think we're here in January talking about a big trial we're all going to be in the courthouse covering. I would expect the Rams and the NFL to immediately appeal and we'll see where it goes from there."