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NFL owners angry Stan Kroenke skipping out on legal fees

Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke attends the game Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke attends the game Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke is challenging the indemnity agreement he signed in 2016 that helped him receive permission to move the franchise from St. Louis, and many other NFL team owners were upset upon learning the news this week, ESPN reported Wednesday.

With the Rams and other owners involved in a years-long lawsuit from the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, millions of dollars have been spent on legal fees. Under the indemnification agreement, Kroenke in essence agreed to foot any legal bills incurred by the NFL and other teams regarding the Rams’ relocation.

During NFL owners meetings Wednesday in New York, commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly asked Kroenke to leave the room before general counsel Jeff Pash informed other owners that Kroenke moved to challenge the indemnification agreement.

Per ESPN, New York Giants owner John Mara argued that if Kroenke hadn’t agreed to reimburse the league the day of the 2016 vote, owners would not have voted in favor of his project. The Rams’ SoFi Stadium project in Inglewood, Calif., was competing at the time with a Raiders-Chargers joint proposal in Carson, Calif.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and several other owners who served on an “L.A. Committee” were ordered to turn over complete financial records to a St. Louis circuit judge as part of the city’s lawsuit, and many of the owners were fined for failing to do so. Kraft said owners would feel dissuaded from serving on league committees in the future if promises of indemnification were not upheld.

Kroenke reportedly believes he shouldn’t have to foot all legal fees because an official working on the Carson proposal sent an email to St. Louis city officials describing ways the Rams may have been violating the NFL’s relocation policy — and the email helped St. Louis sue.

The NFL and the Rams declined ESPN’s requests for comment.

Kroenke’s holding company also owns the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, MLS’ Colorado Rapids and Arsenal F.C. in London.

–Field Level Media