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NFL charged $7.5M per club for Rams settlement despite Stan Kroenke’s assurance


NFL owners gather in Atlanta Tuesday amid a report that they’re getting uninterested in considered one of their brethren, scandal-plagued Washington Commanders boss Daniel Snyder. While which may be true — though an ouster vote will not be within the offing in the intervening time — frustration with one other of their peers is constructing.

Rams owner Stan Kroenke continues to be resisting pressure to pay for the whole thing of the $790 million settlement of the lawsuit by Missouri government entities over the 2016 Rams relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Kroenke agreed as a part of the 2016 owners’ vote approving the move to indemnify the league against all legal costs.

He has since argued that legal costs and settlement payments are different, and the league was compelled to settle due to damaging information supplied by the rival group on the time, which was the bid for a stadium in Carson, Calif., by the then-San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders. Former Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who was against the Rams’ move, also gave damaging deposition testimony that buttressed the St. Louis argument the league violated its own bylaws, sources said.

Quietly, the league, to pay for the settlement, has already taken $7.5 million from each team, deducting the quantity from each club’s revenue-sharing payments, team officials said. That’s $232.5 million from the opposite 31 clubs (the rest of the settlement presumably was paid out of NFL financial reserves because it was due by the top of 2021).

The team executives described surprise on the move and complained that the motion had caused budgeting issues due to sudden charge and never knowing whether the cash could be returned if Kroenke is ordered by the NFL to pay the entire sum.

The query of Kroenke’s liability initially resided with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the finance committee, but they later shifted the problem to a latest five-owner committee charged with recommending an motion.

Kroenke has support from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who forcefully advocated for the Rams’ move to reclaim L.A. for the NFL after a greater than two-decade absence. Jones also has an interest in Legends, which sells marketing and stadium services and which the Rams hired.

Outside of Jones, it’s not clear how much support Kroenke has on what’s a particularly delicate and sensitive issue. The owners generally is a tight-knit club, so Kroenke appearing to return on his indemnification promise has bruised many feelings.

That’s what makes the Snyder report so intriguing, if owners activate considered one of their very own. Lots would must occur nevertheless for Snyder to be forced out. First, the present allegations against him — that he groped a female worker, hid revenue from the NFL, and scammed season ticket holders — would must be found largely true. The NFL is investigating all three in probes led by former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White. Snyder and the team dispute all the fees.

The owners have tolerated loads with the Commanders, from the sexual harassment scandals to the name controversy. Meanwhile, the team has plummeted to just about dead last in revenues among the many 32 clubs, a team source said, an astonishing fall for a franchise that even a decade ago was in the highest quartile.

It will not be believed any major North American owner has been voted out, though some, like Richardson, voluntarily sold having seen the writing on the wall. Richardson faced documented allegations of sexual harassment. After former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo was ensnared in a Louisiana bribery scandal, he agreed to cede control to relations. Within the NBA, the league was able to move against Clippers owner Donald Sterling for racist comments, but his wife assumed control of the team and agreed to sell.

It will take 24 votes to oust Snyder, but before that even happens, the NFL structure calls for what amounts to a mini-trial.

“A special meeting of the league shall be called to listen to charges; the time and place of such meeting shall be fixed by the commissioner,” the structure reads. “At such hearing, the commissioner shall preside, unless he’s the complainant.

“On the hearing, the member or person so charged shall have the correct to seem in person and by counsel,” the Structure continues. “Strict rules of evidence shall not apply, and any testimony and documentary evidence submitted to the hearing shall be received and thought of. Either the complainant or the member or person charged shall be entitled to an adjournment for an inexpensive time to enable it or him to present rebuttal evidence. After considering all of the evidence, the members shall vote upon the fees and fix the punishment.”

(Photo of Commissioner Roger Goodell and Rams owner Stan Kroenke with the Vince Lombardi Trophy: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

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