The news of Stan Kroenke's plans to build a stadium in Los Angeles was a pretty popular story on Monday morning...
Ok, it was huge. It's legitimate big news. But the fallout from the news has, predictably, veered from the serious into the ridiculous.
Facts turned to hypotheticals. Hypotheticals turned to unfounded speculation. Unfounded speculation turned into random spewing of faulty syllogisms and strings of "what ifs" that somehow delved into the bottom basement of thought experiments.
Stan Kroenke on two occasions has gone to Inglewood Mayor James Butts and told Mayor Butts that he's gonna take the Rams no matter what. Whether he gets approval from the league or whether he doesn't get approval from the league, the Rams are going to relocate.
Wow! That's serious! Cole continues:
Well, let me clarify. I'm not saying that's absolutely going to happen, but that's what's being said.
What? That would seem to undercut the validity of Cole's sources, but perhaps he can explain better:
The question is here, is Kroenke basically forcing St. Louis' hand and will accept a new deal from St. Louis or is he telling Inglewood behind everybody's back the truth that he's going to go to Los Angeles no matter what? That's what remains to be seen.
That is true. It's also true that it remained to be seen before Cole's video and his sources telling him what Kroenke has promised Butts. It's also true that people lie all the time in business negotiations, and that Kroenke could be telling Butts what he has to in order to maintain the sincerity of a possible move to maintain leverage throughout the process.
It's also true that there are plenty of reasons to pull back on the idea that the Rams are practically already in Los Angeles.
1.) The idea of building a billion-dollar stadium without having a committed franchise is incredibly risky
Outside experts also were convinced that building such a stadium on spec is far too risky of a move for a real estate billionaire as smart as Kroenke.
"It won't get built on spec," said sports consultant Marc Ganis, who helped the Raiders and Rams leave Los Angeles for new cities in 1995. "They announced a plan, but they didn't announce they were going to start construction."
2.) Moving the Rams without the NFL's approval would come with unprecedented penalties
Again, from that USA Today story:
Such a rogue move by Kroenke also would be fraught with risk. The league could withhold league financing for the new stadium. It also could withhold Super Bowls and try to impose a stiff relocation fee, along with other possible strategies that could make life miserable for his team.
The NFL modified its relocation rules since the big wave of moves that included the initial Rams move from Los Angeles to St. Louis, but mainly it was in response to Al Davis' Raiders who defied the league in moving from LA to Oakland. Here's Jim Thomas on what those penalties can include:
Among them are forfeitures of part of a team’s annual share of leaguewide television revenue. Another is forfeiture of a team’s share of leaguewide income from NFL Properties — the league’s merchandising arm.
That's serious. And likely, it's merely indicative of a host of other penalties the NFL would assess against Kroenke and the Rams.
3.) If Kroenke is the shrewd businessman so many suggest he is, this doesn't make a ton of sense
There's still plenty to shake out, but consider this additional money quote from Ganis:
"I've known Stan for years, and Stan is a measured, deliberate person who makes very good business decisions, often using patience to do so," Ganis said. "If he says he's just going to build it himself and take the league on in court, what have you done? You've built a stadium, and you possibly lose in court and you're out a billion and a half dollars? That's not a rational way to go about it, and Stan is very rational man."
Still, Ganis doesn't believe this stadium will be built on spec.
"To the extent that anybody has said that, I'll take the other side to that bet," Ganis said. "It just doesn't happen, not when you're talking about a billion-plus dollars."
I'm not casting aspersions on Jason Cole or his sources. He's a trusted NFL insider who has cultivated sources for more than two decades. I'm casting aspersions on the value of what those sources suggested.
There's too much at play here to just assume that because Kroenke said one thing to the Inglewood mayor, that it becomes the sole absolute truth. And all this is before the other NFL teams have had a say...
Yeah, listen to that Jason Cole guy.