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Fight over Stan Kroenke indemnity agreement would be resolved by Roger Goodell, in theory

Michael Smith and Michael Holley react to the Denver Broncos trading Von Miller to the Los Angeles Rams and discuss how this trade will impact the Rams' defense.

The litigation arising from the relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles has created significant potential liability for the NFL. Last week, Club Oligarch learned that Rams owner Stan Kroenke is considering reneging on the commitment to cover all expenses arising from the lawsuit filed against the league.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the indemnity agreement includes a provision that requires all disputes to be resolved by the Commissioner. That obviously benefits the other 31 clubs, since Roger Goodell would be naturally inclined to resolve the language in favor of the league. Indeed, Goodell’s lawyers (led by NFL general counsel and former Bruce Allen e-penpal Jeff Pash) previously represented to the teams that the indemnity agreement is ironclad.

For that reason, Kroenke may try to do what the Saints players did in 2012, filing a separate legal action to force Goodell to delegate the authority to make the decision to someone else. Then, Goodell handed the baton to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who promptly scrapped the player suspensions Goodell had imposed. Now, a judge could decide that Goodell can’t be impartial and unbiased when it comes to interpreting the language.

Too much is at stake for Kroenke to not try everything he can to avoid responsibility for the potentially massive liability and foist it onto his partners. If he’s successful, that’s when the possibility of an expansion team in St. Louis slides to the front burner.