On Rams Relocation, Saint Louis Media Is as Fickle as Stan Kroenke
We recently discussed how the Rams, and by extension the Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke, just slammed the Saint Louis metropolitan area to help make the case for moving the Rams. Now seems like a good time for city leadership and media to take a long look at why Saint Louis is in this position, and to reevaluate the merits of promising hundreds of millions of public dollars to a fickle billionaire. Instead, unfortunately, just about every civic leader and media source is focusing on blasting Kroenke for being a callous businessman (if not worse). A tough day for the man the Post-Dispatch once hailed as the new “Stan the Man.”
No joke. The Saint Louis media was not always as harsh on the Kroenke as they are now. Back when he was part of a task force to get an NFL team in the early 90s, many in the Saint Louis press tried their best to praise Kroenke. When he was pushing for an expansion team, Kroneke’s now-derided woodenness was described thusly:
He seems to be that rare individual who is comfortable with himself, and that makes us feel comfortable with him. After all the recent noise pollution, Kroenke's confident, understated manner is pleasing to the ears.
The very act of finding Kroenke, a Missouri native prepared to shell out tens of millions to attract a new team, was praised as a deft maneuver. Any possible faults were then overlooked . . . because football. As one Post-Dispatch writer put it:
"He wants to buy us a football team," I said to my kids. "He wants to bring the Lambs to St. Louis. I sure like him."
When Saint Louis finally bought the Rams, Kroenke was hailed as a victorious warrior. When the NFL voted (21 to 3) to block the Rams’ move to Saint Louis, the newspapers eagerly (and now very ironically) lapped up Kroenke’s promise to get the team here anyway, with litigation if necessary. After enough side deals were cut and the lease, now universally derided, was inked, the Post-Dispatch praised Kroenke as a “quiet source of steady strength.” The praise was so lavish that when the Cardinals faced an ownership crisis in 1995, Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz wrote:
The good news is that maybe Cardinals fans will get what they deserve, when all of the brokering is completed: a caring, interactive owner. That person is out there. (HELLO, STAN KROENKE?)
If Saint Louis’s media had spent less time heaping praise on any attempt to get an NFL team, and more time looking critically at of the final deal’s merits, maybe we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.