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I figured it out about the same time Ben Hochman of the Post Dispatch did: Stan Kroenke wrote a letter designed to force the owners to move the Rams to Los Angeles right now.
The acrimony created by Kroenke’s relocation request letter makes the situation in St. Louis untenable for the team and its owner. In short, Kroenke calls St. Louis a second-rate, economically depressed, crime-infest toilet of a city full of people so obsessed with baseball that no other sports franchise has the ability to compete for entertainment dollars.
The vicious attack on the St. Louis area and its people seems designed to make it impossible for the team to remain in St. Louis with Kroenke as owner. That’s actually a pretty shrewd tactic. He’s pretty much tied the hands of the other owners.
That conclusion was bolstered on Wednesday when the Los Angeles committee of owners cancelled today’s second day of meetings on recommending a proposal to the full ownership group next week. They made their decision. And that decision was sealed when Kroenke poisoned the waters in St. Louis.
From Ben Hochman’s story:
The worst part about his seemingly diabolical plan is this, right here. See, he wants columns and radio shows and tweets expressing how much St. Louis loathes him, about how he can’t turn back now and possibly own a St. Louis NFL team. Why does he want this? So the NFL owners will have to second-guess a decision to vote for the Chargers and Raiders to move to LA, with the owners believing that the Rams owner cannot make it work back in St. Louis.
Rich Owner No. 1: “Man, it sure seems pretty logical to move the two California NFL teams, without hopes of a new stadium, into a palatial new stadium in California’s biggest city.”
Rich Owner No 2: “Maybe, sure, but Stan can’t go back to St. Louis!”
Stan Kroenke is calculated in everything he does. So to prove his point that he must flee St. Louis, he took it out on St. Louis, the same fans who filled the dome for all those happy years — and many who still pay hard-earned money to watch that USFL team he puts out there to play against NFL teams.
The owners can move the Rams to LA or deal long-term with a terrible football team playing before 4,000 people in a terrible domed stadium built in a hurry to house the stillborn St. Louis Stallions. That’s not really a choice.
Four years ago, Stan Kroenke held a rare press conference to assure St. Louisans that the Rams are here to stay. But only a year later, stores in Los Angeles were selling LA Rams gear. I know. I saw two of those stores on my frequent visits to LA County. While the license stamp could have been a fake, the gear had the NFL and Rams’ licenses. Two years ago Kroenke bought the land in Inglewood to build the Rams’ new home.
Only an idiot would believe Kroenke intended to keep the Rams in St. Louis when he acquired majority ownership.
The one thing Kroenke got right was this: St. Louis is a region in steep decline. I thought when he bought the team a billionaire from Missouri named after Cardinals hall-of-fame legends Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial would lend a hand in fixing his team’s home town. Instead, he counted St. Louis’s warts and used those problems–which existed before he bought the team–as weapons to belittle and humiliate the city.
Now I can go back to my football first love: the Gridbirds.