On Saturday at South By Southwest, an art/film/culture/everything festival in Austin, Texas, a panel "will discuss the intersection of personal ethics, fandom, and commerce in sports."
The panel consists of:
- Erik Burkhardt: a sports agent who counts Browns QB Johnny Manziel among his clients
- Evan Rosenblum: the executive producer at TMZ Sports
- Katie Nolan: TV host for Fox Sports' "Garbage Time with Katie Nolan"
- Kevin Demoff: COO and Executive Vice President of the Los Angeles Rams
Yes, Kevin Demoff, the Rams' point man for media interviews insisting the franchise was dedicated to staying in St. Louis all the while preparing them to move to Los Angeles, will discuss the intersection of ethics, fandom and commerce.
Perhaps it's his experience they'll be tapping into.
A collection of Demoff's direct quotes prior to the move presented from various pieces by Shane Gray who covered the team for InsideSTL and 101ESPN (articles here, here, here and here if you want all of it).
If we do our job right, I have no doubt that the Edward Jones Dome will be 66,000 loud and strong and there will be no doubts about St. Louis as a great NFL market. We haven't done our job right over the past few years and I promise you we will get it right.
When asked where he expected the Rams to be located long-term back in February 2014:
I expect it will be right here in St. Louis. I don't see any reason that that can't be so.
I promise you Stan is looking at lots of pieces of land around the world right now and none of them are for football stadiums.*
* Note that this was after Rams Owner Stan Kroenke had driven around the site and called Demoff personally to tell him what a perfect site the Inglewood tract was for an NFL stadium.
On Kroenke's intentions:
I think when he (Kroenke) said what he said (about wanting Rams to stay) when he bought the team, he was sincere, he was genuine and in the meantime there's a path and a process that's behind closed doors, and that's what we've adapted to.
The state of the franchise is as healthy as it’s been in a long time. I want to ease people’s concerns about where we’re going to play within St. Louis over the next 20, 30, 40 years. ... That’s really the way we’re looking at this. I know a lot has been written and said (about Kroenke’s ultimate) intentions, but our goal from the beginning has been to get a first-class facility that makes St. Louis a destination for top-tier sporting events.
And more more:
I know people want to paint a doomsday scenario, but Stan has been emphatic on this point: He didn't lead the charge to bring the Rams back to St. Louis to lead the charge out of St. Louis. Everything we have done as an organization -- the hiring of Jeff Fisher, the countless hours in community service (our 4th playground build is Monday in Fairmount City), the re-connecting with partners, the lowering of ticket prices at the EJD -- has been done with the St. Louis fans in mind. Our goal is to build a winner in St. Louis not only in 2012, but in 2022, 2032 and beyond. This city deserves better NFL football and that is what we are focused on every day.
As always when discussing the move from St. Louis, I've been bluntly honest. Let's keep it that way.
Kevin Demoff lied. Repeatedly. Often. Frequently. With ease. Period.
Here's some more blunt honesty.
We should have all expected as much.
Demoff's job isn't to tell the truth. I'm not sure why we should demand as much from him.
I spoke to him at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, and he was visibly uncomfortable discussing the move. I can understand why. He'll rarely have to deal with anyone that covered the team in St. Louis or many fans that represented that era moving forward. That of course means he doesn't really have to deal with the litany of falsehoods he presented to local media.
We should all be adults. We know that sometimes politicians lie to us. We know that there's plenty of media that's literally incredible. Hell, if people listened to me, we'd never believe a damn word Jeff Fisher ever says.
But let's not twist things around. Demoff expertise on ethics, fandom and commerce didn't come from an academic standpoint or an analytical one. His expertise therein is more perverse from that. The world's not perfect. It's not Demoff's responsibility to make it so.
But part of the reason why is that people in his position find it too easy to shill to a desperate fan base instead of standing up to them and telling the truth.
That's fine. But it's not worth paying any attention to anymore.