Let me do something Stan Kroenke did not -- thank the St.
Louis fans of the Rams.
St. Louisans stood by their team, supporting them through
far more losing seasons than winning seasons.
The NFL ignored the facts. They ignored the loyalty of St. Louis
fans. They ignored a viable plan for a
new stadium. And, they ignored a strong
market, which has demonstrated beyond doubt that it can -- and did -- support
an NFL team.
Instead, the NFL grabbed at the money. That’s
It is especially frustrating that Governor Nixon’s Task
Force worked within the NFL's own relocation guidelines and closely with the
NFL’s Los Angeles Committee, and yet, the rest of the owners ignored the
committee’s work and its recommendation to keep the Rams in St. Louis.
The NFL sent a loud and clear message: their home cities and hometown fans are commodities
to be abandoned once they no longer suit the league’s purposes.
I want to thank Dave Peacock, Bob Blitz and everyone who
worked hard on this effort. I am proud
of what St. Louis was able to accomplish in a short time. And I believe that
the framework for minority participation in the Task Force’s proposals should
become a template for all big plans.
In the meantime, I am going to increase my focus -- and
seek a regional focus -- on our hospitality industry— conventions, tourism and
amateur sports. They put thousands of
City and County residents to work in good jobs and careers. Expanding existing facilities and building
new ones will be a new priority.
With the Rams moving, the City will lose some money in
the short run. The City still must pay
off the rest of the Dome bonds without the revenue from the team. But, without
the Rams in the Dome, we can make it a more competitive facility to attract more conventions on a year-round basis.
Finally, I strongly believe that we must finish what we
started in the land acquisition on the north riverfront, and ready it for a
different kind of development. That planning
is ongoing. The site is too important to lay dormant another decade.
I have no real interest in the NFL.