ESPN'S MORTENSEN SAYS NFL "NERVOUS" ABOUT ST. LOUIS SUIT
The NFL "is nervous and rightfully so," about the
antitrust lawsuit filed by the St. Louis Business and
Convention Bureau that is set to be heard in U.S. District
Court on October 6, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The
lawsuit is over the $29M relocation fee that NFL charged the
Rams to move from L.A., of which the Visitors and Convention
Bureau was charged $20M. While the NFL has "made overtures"
to Rams President John Shaw about settling, one St. Louis
source said that "is a fruitless attempt because the Rams
are not the litigant" and have "only filed a lien to collect
against the NFL if a judgement is rendered in favor of St.
Louis." One league owner told Mortensen that the NFL "is
irate with Shaw because, in a deposition, he accused NFL
commissioner Paul Tagliabue of lying about circumstances
regarding the Raiders' obligations on a move." Mortensen
adds that the "league is not confident about the case" since
St. Louis "has a distinct home-field advantage." While
damages could be trebled, a court loss would also impact the
NFL's relocation deals with the Ravens and Oilers. League
sources say that Ravens Owner Art Modell "will be a witness
for the league [h]owever there is an agreement that the
Ravens' deal will be modified on the exact terms of any
settlement with St. Louis" (ESPN SportsZone, 9/14).