Rams Fans Voice Love For Team, Disdain For Stan Kroenke At Public Forum With NFL Execs
Rams fans last night "put on quite a show" at the Peabody Opera House in an effort to convince NFL execs to keep the team in St. Louis, according to a front-page piece by Jim Thomas of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. Many "were emotional, some fought back tears". Their "love of the Rams and dislike of owner Stan Kroenke came through loud and clear." There were "very few actual questions" for NFL Exec VP/Business Ventures Eric Grubman, but "plenty of heartfelt venting to him and three other league executives on hand." Many "pounded away on the relocation guidelines, stating that Kroenke didn’t meet the provisions, didn’t engage the fans or media and hadn’t engaged in good-faith negotiations to build a new stadium in St. Louis as required by the relocation guidelines." Grubman said that negotiations "could take many forms and that the Rams and Kroenke 'have not prevented or discouraged a single meeting or discussion' between the league and representatives of the St. Louis stadium task force." He also noted that Rams Exec VP/Football Operations & COO Kevin Demoff "had been a regular in league meetings with the task force." Grubman: "I don’t know how this ends. If after this (process) ends and the owners have a very, very tough decision, then we’ve done our job.” He added, "My assessment based on what I have seen and heard tonight is St. Louis loves its Rams" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28).
FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT: ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner wrote whether yesterday's event or similar hearings set for San Diego and Oakland this week "ultimately mean much in the final equation is up for debate." But NFL Senior VP/Public Policy & Government Affairs Cynthia Hogan "offered some words of encouragement to the fans in attendance." She said, "It's hard for me to imagine there's a city in the United States that has a better fan base" (ESPN.com, 10/27). In St. Louis, Benjamin Hochman writes the city "can’t do anything about its owner trying to leave." But the other owners "owe it to St. Louis to have the city’s back, because, unequivocally, St. Louis should matter to them." St. Louis is a "current and proud member of the fraternity." Hochman: "If anything, shouldn’t the NFL at least be on St. Louis’ side of the table during this process?" Grubman "said all the right things, but St. Louis has to be skeptical about how much clout and sway he has." The NFL "owes it to St. Louis to try to make this work here" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28).
CONTINGENCY PLAN? In St. Louis, Lisa Brown notes news broke yesterday that "immediately fueled speculation that Kroenke was developing a stadium site as a backup to his proposal" in L.A. Kroenke's attorney Alan Bornstein in an email wrote, "Any speculation that the Maryland Heights property would be developed as a stadium for the St. Louis Rams is incorrect” (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/28). Also in St. Louis, Brian Feldt originally reported Bornstein is "looking to buy 200 acres" in Maryland Heights, Mo., and "would be interested in developing a retail project in the area." Mostly farmland, the Maryland Heights district "was long rumored to be a potential site for a future NFL stadium" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 10/27).