WASHINGTON — DC’s lawsuit against Dan Snyder and the NFL is being celebrated by fans on social media who have long demanded accountability for the teams’ troubles. But what happens next? The answer may lie in St. Louis.
In November 2021, the city of St. Louis reached a $790 million settlement with the NFL and Rams owner Stan Kroenke after authorities in St. Louis sued Kroenke and the league over the team’s relocation to Los Angeles.
Frank Cusamano, sports director at KSDK and a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame, said when the city first filed suit against Kronke and the league in 2017, most St. Louis sports fans thought winning was a long shot.
“I think that we are the little guys in this,” Cusamano said. “And a midsize city going after a billionaire in the NFL in a lawsuit, which has really never been done before like this.”
The lawsuit went on for more than four years and included depositions of Kroenke and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and led to discovery being filed and released to the public that outlined Kroenke’s distaste for the city of St. Louis as a sports market.
“I think that we all felt that Stan Kroenke was a liar and was very deceptive,” Cusamano said. “But I think what this lawsuit did was really illustrate how crooked and how deceptive the NFL was. I mean, he made it seem that when we were putting our plans together to try to save the Rams, and building this billion-dollar stadium for Stan, that we actually had a chance to keep the team. But the truth was, he had already picked out the land years before and he had no intention of keeping the Rams in St. Louis, and it was all a charade.”
And while the lawsuit filed Thursday by DC Attorney General Karl Racine differs in the nature of the allegations, both accuse a hated NFL owner of colluding with the league to lie to and hurt a devoted fan base.
So which owner is more hated?
“I'd have to go with Kroenke,” Cusamano said. “Because in the end (DC) is not going to lose your football team. And it's such a precious thing to have one of those National Football League franchises in your city. Washington will have a team and St. Louis, we may never get one back.”
It’s unlikely Racine’s lawsuit would result in a settlement as big as St Louis got. St. Louis was suing for damages and all the lost revenue from Kroenke moving the team to LA. Under DC Law a Consumer Protection Lawsuit can result in a 5,000 fine for every deception or lie proven. In the case of Snyder, Racine said those fines can add up quickly, but probably not to $790 million.