The NFL Is Not Done With St. Louis

The league is fighting a lawsuit filed by the city of St. Louis.

The National Football League is back in court as city of St. Louis officials are suing the league. St. Louis officials want money from NFL owners because they feel then St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, after he finished his business’s lease agreement at the city-owned stadium in 2015, took his team to the Los Angeles area under a false pretense. St. Louis filed suit in 2015 and is seeking more than $1 billion in damages. The city thinks Kroenke violated the NFL’s relocation guidelines. In September, the St. Louis’ lawsuit was allowed to move ahead after a judge refused to throw out the case. The NFL now has to defend itself and St. Louis officials want to see NFL financial statements. St. Louis is claiming that Kroenke and NFL owners “unjustly enriched” themselves by relocating the Rams and it was a wrongful relocation because St. Louis never got the chance to stop the move. St. Louis is not just going after Kroenke. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is in the legal crosshairs. St. Louis claims that Kroenke and Jones conspired to “develop a plan to relocate the Rams” citing financial losses.

There was a report that the NFL could dispose of the court action by giving St. Louis an expansion team. There is some precedent for that in NFL history. After Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell took his team to Baltimore in 1995, Cleveland sued the league and the settlement resulted in Cleveland getting a 1999 expansion franchise. There were stories in 1985 circulating that the NFL would settle an antitrust lawsuit filed by the United States Football League by taking in two USFL teams, Baltimore and Oakland and paying off the other owners who didn’t make the NFL cut. USFL owners  turned down the proposed deal. The NFL rarely wins big court cases.

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The playing field at SoFi Stadium, the home for the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers NFL football teams, is shown Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. Stan Kroenke got permission to bring pro football back to Los Angeles because the Rams owner vowed to build an NFL palace and a West Coast hub for the league. Lavish, ultramodern SoFi Stadium certainly appears to live up to those promises as it opens its doors this week, even if fans can’t enjoy it right away. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)