Cowboys' Jerry Jones: Rams Had 'Every Opportunity' to Stay in St. Louis amid Lawsuit

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 24, 2021

INGLEWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during an NFL game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers on September 19, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA. (Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys president Jerry Jones said he understands the lingering frustration in St. Louis related to the Rams' departure for Los Angeles in 2016, but he believes the NFL gave the city a fair chance to retain the franchise.

Jones was asked Friday on 105.3 The Fan's K&C Masterpiece (begins at 33:20) about the St. Louis lawsuit that seeks damages for alleged fraud leading up to the Rams' move:

"I can appreciate St. Louis' concern or St. Louis' interest in losing an NFL team, and I see that. I know how special they are. And so it's a product of that. I know firsthand—I'm very familiar with Missouri, and I'm very familiar with how the Rams operated in Missouri and [chairman] Stan Kroenke's commitment and the type of sensitivity that he had and his love for Missouri. I know all of that firsthand, and it was outstanding. And so every opportunity was given for the Rams to remain in St. Louis in my view. So having said that, I think that hopefully this thing will seek its right level."

The NFL has suffered a couple of recent setbacks as part of the litigation, which was filed in 2017.

In August, Judge Christopher McGraugh ruled the NFL and Kroenke couldn't move the case out of St. Louis after they raised concerns about "extensive pre-trial publicity."

Then Wednesday, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a ruling that Kroenke, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL owners must provide personal financial information as part of the case.

The rulings leave the door open for St. Louis to receive punitive damages if it can prove fraud took place during the Rams' relocation process. The trial is scheduled to begin in January.

Sports attorney Daniel Wallach told A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports that the sides could reach a settlement, and Wallach believes $1 billion would be the "starting point" in negotiations.

Kroenke released a statement in 2016 after the relocation was finalized.

"This move isn't about whether I love St. Louis or Missouri," he said. "I do and always will. No matter what anyone says, that will never change. This decision is about what is in the best long-term interests of the Rams organization and the National Football League."

Along with the Chargers, who moved from San Diego to L.A. in 2017, the Rams opened SoFi Stadium in 2020. The venue will host Super Bowl LVI in February.

The teams' arrivals to Los Angeles gave the NFL two franchises in the United States' second-largest media market. St. Louis is No. 23.