This is a week that should have been a sunshine bright, birds singing, music playing sort of week for a Rams franchise and fan base that desperately needs it. The Rams find out their schedule on Tuesday. Thursday they have the top pick in the NFL Draft and presumably will take their quarterback of the future. The rest of the weekend involves picking players that you hope will build the foundation for a future playoff team. It should be a very exciting time for all involved with the Rams. Instead Stan Kroenke has essentially upstaged any goodwill and hope for a brighter future by not stating his intentions for keeping the Rams in St. Louis and drawing out the process of who will own the Rams past 2010. It is a total buzzkill for the Rams franchise.
It has been over a week since the word was released that Kroenke intended to purchase the Rams from the Rosenbloom’s and we have not heard one word from Kroenke since that point. In his release he stated nothing about the future of the Rams in St. Louis which has lead to wide spread speculation about the team’s future. For the sake of the franchise and for its fan base he could have given an interview to someone locally or he could have issued another statement saying something along the lines of I look forward to the Draft this weekend where we are going to move this franchise forward and I have every intention of that future being in St. Louis. It is a win-win for Kroenke. He opens up a little bit and he doesn’t have to lie. The word intention means things can change but at this point he wants to own the Rams and keep them in St. Louis. Instead he hangs the franchise out to dry, alienating the fan base once again.
The Rams could be out pushing tickets this week and saying the future is now. Instead they would be making hollow promises because there is not one person in Rams Park that has any idea where this franchise is headed from a business standpoint. It is shameful.
There is also new word that what the Kroenke move is really all about is a high stakes corporate shakedown. Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal is claiming that Kroenke has asked Khan for money to not get in the way of his purchase of the team. It is reportedly a mid to high 8 digit number to essentially keep quiet and let the process go through. Shahid Khan didn’t budge, Kroenke made his play and now the NFL and Khan face some tough decisions. Does Khan blink? Does the NFL say no? What is for certain is the process continues to drag out while the Rams remain in limbo for yet another season.
It has also been reported that Kroenke intends to transfer his possession of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche to his wife so that he can work around the NFL’s cross ownership rules. By doing this, or at least floating the idea out there, Kroenke is going to force the NFL into an uncomfortable position. Do they want to “bend” the rules for Kroenke or do they not want Kroenke as an owner?
When you also throw in the fact that Kroenke is on the Los Angeles stadium committee it certainly throws more confusion into the situation. St. Louis fans who are already scorned by the NFL have to feel nervous about that even if is as innocent as Kroenke just providing a real-estate perspective for a big project. It all adds up to a really frustrating time to be a St. Louis Rams fan.
This week should be about what is about to happen on the football field for the Rams. Instead the focus is going to be on who is going to be sitting in that owner’s box come 2011. Just another twisted chapter in what has been the weird tenure of the St. Louis Rams.
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