In a separate statement in October 2020, Goodell was repeatedly pressed on the question at the heart of the lawsuit: Did the NFL’s team owners disregard their own relocation guidelines when they voted to let the Rams move? Goodell provided elusive answers to the question of whether the owners had considered each of the 12 predetermined factors or whether they had voted simply because a deal was available in Los Angeles.
“And I’ll say it again that I think the ownership was very responsible by considering all the different factors and really understanding the key issues and ultimately making a decision that’s in the best interest of the NFL,” Goodell said. according to a partial transcription of the deposition.
The realization that a jury of Missouri residents would probably not be satisfied with such a response, combined with the prospect of several NFL owners being called to testify, made settling the case a more pragmatic option than opening a lawsuit on January 10, just a few weeks before. the Super Bowl is scheduled to be played at SoFi Stadium, the splashy $5 billion venue in Inglewood, California, that Kroenke built after moving the team west.
By deciding to settle for $790 million, the NFL closed its responsibility to Blitz and a city that has lost not only the Rams, but also the Cardinals, who left for Arizona after the 1987 season. But the competition set a precedent for other scorned cities.
“The host cities may be starting to gain influence again,” said Daniel Wallach, a sports and gambling attorney who has followed the case.
For the NFL, the agreement ensures that there will be no public display and the juicy details of league activities in the many documents related to the lawsuit remain private. It also keeps gossip between team owners in check.
Before the league decided to settle, Kroenke and the other team owners appeared to be at each other’s throats as he tried to free himself from the indemnity agreement, according to multiple news outlets, which held him liable for legal fees and possible damages related to relocation proceedings.
Now Kroenke may have to pay most or all of the settlement.