2 min read
Posted on 01.13.16
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 01.13.16

 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 disappointing.

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.