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#pounditSunday, December 5, 2021

NFL owners reportedly upset with Stan Kroenke

Stan Kroenke before the Super Bowl

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke promised to cover millions of dollars in legal expenses when his team moved from St. Louis to L.A. in 2016, but it sounds like he is trying to renege.

According to a report from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash informed team owners at their meeting in New York on Tuesday that Kroenke no longer believes he should foot the entire bill for the lawsuit that was filed against the league by the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority. The case, which argues that the NFL broke its own relocation guidelines and misled the public, has cost team owners tens of millions. The majority of the fees have been covered by Kroenke to this point under an indemnification agreement he signed when moving the Rams.

Tuesday’s news left owners angered and stunned, sources told Wickersham. Kroenke addressed the room and apologized for the lawsuit but said he believes he has done everything the league has asked of him. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones vouched for Kroenke and said he has done a lot for the NFL, but commissioner Roger Goodell then reportedly asked Kroenke to leave the room.

At that point, Pash told owners that Kroenke is formally challenging the indemnification agreement. Several owners, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and New York Giants owner John Mara, expressed disappointment in the way Kroenke pivoted. Mara argued that owners would not have voted in favor of the move without Kroenke’s assurance that he would cover legal fees.

In defending Kroenke, Jones said that some of the problems created with the lawsuit were a result of one unnamed owner’s shaky deposition.

In 2019, an ESPN report included an email from an official affiliated with the group that was trying to have the Rams’ and Chargers’ new stadium built in Carson. That email outlined some of the ways the Rams were allegedly in violation of the NFL’s relocation policy. Kroenke believes may of the legal issues arose from that email and that he is not responsible for them, according to Wickersham.

If you remember, an ad attacking Kroenke aired during the Super Bowl two years ago. The Rams owner has been dealing with criticism and paying legal fees for years. He obviously feels that someone else needs to start sharing responsibility. It’s hardly a surprise his peers disagree.

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