The meeting between the NFL and fans about the possible relocation of the St. Louis Rams got interesting and heated out the gate. But really could anyone honestly say they expected anything less?
If nothing else St. Louis fans showed they are well versed in the language of the relocation guidelines, and virtually every person who spoke did their homework.
Fans came from all over. There were more than just the kind folks of St. Louis. Some people admitted to driving from five hours away to attend this meeting. The dedication was undeniable, and there was a definite good impression.
The NFL's public policy senior vice president, Cynthia Hogan, had this to say, "It’s hard for me to imagine there’s a city in the United States that has a better fan base."
Of course, it came off as just a politically correct statement until a fan read a poem. As a fellow poet myself, I can honestly say this was one of the most heartfelt, well thought out, and detailed oriented poems I have heard in years. While reciting her work, I noticed Hogan's intense sentiment, and intrigue with what was being said. When the fab finished, the first person to stand an applaud was Hogan.
This stood out as Hogan didn't stand once the entire rest of the night, not even when Eric Grubman would recognize a fan who served the country in which everyone stood, and this happened twice. Hogan later stated that she was reminded why she "wanted to work for the NFL tonight", thanking the fans almost as if to say she lost sight of the reason.
However, not all of the NFL's representatives appeared to be genuinely moved. Grubman did stand and applaud with Hogan after this fan read this unbelievably well written poem, and she even stated "I've worked for the NFL or around it for 20 years. I've watched a lot of people try to describe how a team gets woven into it's community. But I have never heard anybody describe it like that."
Seriously he wasn't blowing smoke, this was amazing. I'm just mad I didn't catch it on camera. She along with 101ESPN's Randy Karraker stole the show.
Karraker was instantly well received from the moment he stepped on stage. Loud roaring chants of "Ran-dy Ran-dy Ran-dy" came pouring down from the fans as they heaped praise of his love and commitment to the Rams. Not sure if it was the chants or his passion about keeping the Rams in St. Louis, or a mixture of both, but from the beginning of his speech he was choked up and teary eyed.
He pounded Eric Grubman with tough question after tough question. He questioned the integrity of the league and showed no mercy in calling out Stan Kroenke.
Here was the final statements from Karraker and the deafening cheers he received...
The fans ultimately wanted an encore and Karraker attempted to say a few more things, but the NFL cut him off and refused to let him speak anymore.
In most instances Grubman was left speechless and essentially didn't give many direct answers. He repeated answers from previous questions continuously and fans quickly would boo and shout out more questions demanding answers.
No question rained down more than, "Do you feel Stan Kroenke has followed the relocation guidelines to be eligible for thus move?" Her'es a fan really coming at Grubman in what can only be described as a standoff as she would not back down.
Grubman at one point said he was not the one to answer her question at which point she promptly replied with the right amount of sass "but you're the only one here, honey!" Grubman danced around the question all night never giving a real answer and at times completely jumping off subject. At one point during the night, I tweeted this:
Eric Grubman is getting hammered hard up there. Credit to you #NFL, you hired a true politician. He can dance around questions w/the best— Misone Adiasor (@MightyOrMisone) October 28, 2015
I took a lot from this meeting, but left still feeling the way I felt when I walked in. I sat there watching fans pour in donning Rams apparel left and right, high fiving as if to say we are going to show them what we're made of.
The level of intensity was unworldly as I watched hundreds of committed fans walk into the auditorium ready to make their case.
But to me it felt like a trap.
Like hundreds of people walking into an unknown execution. Thinking they're going to change the minds of some billionaire who has made their billions not from making emotional decisions but business decisions. All emotion is detached from their world dealing with dollars, and this meeting felt as though it was only emotions. A lot was said, but those billionaires didn't understand one word.
Their only language is money, not emotion.
I do have to give a shout out to an 81-year old Rams fan named David Collins. He was the third person to speak, although that didn't happen because he was so emotional he couldn't talk. His wife read his speech for him.
He declared himself the oldest living Rams fan as he became a fan in 1946. He said he sold newspapers outside of the game for .07 cent that included the roster. He thought it was a good deal because in the stadium the roster costs .25 cent. He said the paper boys was allowed in the game free of charge his first time and he was hooked since. More interesting than anything, Collins and his wife moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles because the Rams moved to St. Louis. To anyone reading this, please applaud Mr. Collins for his longevity and unworldly commitment.
That's all I have for now. Please if you have any questions to what took place last night ask below in the comments or on twitter.