Report: Documents, emails show how Rams and NFL maneuvered team’s exit from St. Louis

Published: May. 14, 2022 at 2:43 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - New documents and emails obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch shed light on how the Rams and NFL worked to move the team to Los Angeles.

The records were released to the Post-Dispatch as part of a push to unseal records related to a lawsuit filed by local authorities against the NFL and Rams for the team’s relocation. The records include depositions, exhibits, emails and more, and they show that Rams owner Stan Kroenke started to plan a move in 2013, a year before it became public knowledge.

In an effort to get league support for the move, the Rams reportedly played up St. Louis’ “downward trend as a market.” The records obtained by the Post-Dispatch also show that the league helped Kroenke cover up his purchase of the land in Inglewood, California where the Rams stadium would eventually be built.

They wanted to, “maximize 2014 ticket sales by avoiding any unnecessary publicity about the possible departure of the Rams.”

According to the Post-Dispatch report, Kroenke was backed by the owners of the Houston Texans and Pittsburgh Steelers; the only NFL owner opposed was Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed says the unsealed documents show the team was not serious about staying in St. Louis. A task force put together a proposal for a stadium to be built on the riverfront just north of downtown St. Louis.

“It was all a complete waste of time, they were going to move anyway, they were just going through the steps and checking the boxes, so the move was going to happen, that’s what we’re finding out,” Reed said.

St. Louis City, County, and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) sued the NFL and Rams over the move. In November, the Rams and NFL agreed to a $790 million settlement.

When asked if the settlement was fair in light of what the released records show, Reed said, “This has taken a major toll on the City of St Louis and a lot of people have profited from it.”

Reed also said the plan to downplay the city and fans was a cheap shot. He wants to see all the records related to the lawsuit released.