clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

In Rams' relocation fiasco, can anybody find me somebody to love?

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke talks to the media after NFL owners voted Tuesday to allow his team to move to a new stadium just outside Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The Rams are moving from St. Louis to Los Angeles, and there’s no one to like in the whole greasy affair.

Not billionaire Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who turned out bad football teams, turned up his nose at public funding for a new stadium in St. Louis and, bitterness flowing, turned on the city on his way out.

Not Los Angeles, filled with sunshine, money and, history tells us, people with too many entertainment options to be passionate about football.

Not the NFL, which will abandon cities and fans in a second for a better deal.

And, to a lesser extent, not even the people of St. Louis, who weren’t crying when the Rams bolted L.A. for their fair city in 1995. You can’t have it both ways.

St. Louis deserved a better football team. That’s the sad part of this. Rams fans did exactly what fans are supposed to do when confronted with a subpar product: They stayed away from the games. But instead of responding by building a winning team, ownership delivered one losing season after another. The solution to the drop in attendance, in Kroenke’s mind, was to blame a depressed economy in St. Louis and move the franchise west to warmer weather and deeper pockets.

Sports franchise owners don’t care about you, the person. They care about you, the person with discretionary income. Surely you know that by now. Surely you know that they would rip out your heart for more profits elsewhere. White Sox fans will recall that their team was on the verge of leaving for Florida in 1988 until Illinois lawmakers came up with money for a new ballpark. It’s like that.

Kroenke came to his $7.7 billion net worth by marrying into the Walton family, which owns Wal-Mart. Smart guy. Just not particularly principled. That hardly makes him unique in the sports world.

“It is troubling that the league would allow for the relocation of a team when a home market has worked in good faith and presented a strong and viable proposal,’’ Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said.

Troubling, maybe. Surprising, not even close.