National Football League

Rams Are Still Doing Everything in Their Power to Alienate St. Louis Fans

There’s a drawer in my dresser in which I keep workout shirts and shorts, and several weeks ago I found an old pair of Rams shorts. As I sealed my back patio a few weeks ago, I wore them because it didn’t matter to me if I ruined them or not. When I was finished and came in, my son saw me and asked “why are you wearing Rams stuff?” I told him what I was doing and that the only way I’d wear it was to ruin it.

kevin demoff houston
Rams COO Kevin Demoff speaks to Randy Karraker in Houston following a press conference announcing the team would relocate to Los Angeles.

That’s the way I feel about it. My impression is that the overwhelming majority of people in this town either A) Only wear Rams stuff to ruin it and B) Would ask someone adorned in it “why in the world are you wearing THAT?”

The franchise has done plenty to inflame the negative passions NFL fans have in St. Louis.

Perhaps the league thinks it’s so big that flipping a middle finger at the nation’s twentieth largest market isn’t a problem.

Maybe they think there’s no way disrespected fans will stay away from their product. They might be correct, but there are plenty of reasons for St. Louis fans to hate the NFL.

Obviously, the league completely disregarded its own relocation guidelines, had no problem with the Rams blasting the region (in a dishonest and disingenuous fashion) in its relocation application, and then voted 30-2 against St. Louis retaining its team.

On the way to Los Angeles, there wasn’t a goodbye from the franchise, let alone a thank you to the PSL holders and ticket buyers and supporters in St. Louis.

Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff, who orchestrated the relocation (it’s probably the reason he was hired. He couldn’t have been hired for his acuity in regards to building a winner) said in a L.A. television interview that “it’s always been my dream to bring a team back to Los Angeles.”

He also told a group there that he was scared to eat St. Louis food. Apparently he didn’t enjoy the culinary offerings of Pi Pizza, Sugarfire BBQ, Strange Donuts, Crown Candy Kitchen, Chevy’s and Chick-Fil-A, which regularly provided food to the organization.

When a St. Louis radio station booked Rams reporters Dani Klupenger for a phone interview, the front office apparently stepped in and told her she couldn’t do it. They’re doing everything they can to alienate NFL fans in St. Louis. And St. Louis has certainly gotten the message.

How often do you see anyone wearing NFL gear here anymore? Most people that had NFL stuff had Rams stuff. With pretty much everyone getting rid of theirs, there isn’t much visible NFL fandom in town.

chris long-3
The Rams cut St. Louis fan favorite Chris Long in February.

As training camp started this week, several social media friends and followers were aghast that 101ESPN would air training camp interviews from L.A over the weekend. I had to point out that those were national ESPN Radio shows, and that 101ESPN would NEVER cover the Rams. They have earned our spite, and we aren’t going to cover them any more than any other team.

In fact, it struck me as camp approached that I wasn’t even thinking about it or upset that we weren’t going to be at Rams Park. There is one thing Rams COO Kevin Demoff does well, and that’s poison a football market. His incessant lying before the move and trolling since have turned off many, many St. Louis NFL fans, and I can’t say that I blame them.

Think about this: not to be self-congratulatory, but The Fast Lane is the top rated spoken word show in our market. And our station was the flagship radio station for the team in town.

Yet, last year we were never given access to Nick Foles or Todd Gurley for an interview. We asked.

Last year during the regular season, we asked for and weren’t allowed to talk to Aaron Donald.

Then after the team left, it continued to cut ties with STL by cutting the two most popular players here, Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.

100% of the response I receive about the team is negative. I haven’t heard from ANYBODY (and there might be someone) who is interested in the team or it having success.

Goodwill stores in the St. Louis region won’t accept Rams gear any more. So much has been donated, and so little is sold, that it makes no sense for the charitable organization to take any more in.

My daughter went to an anchor department store at a mall over the weekend, and told me that they still have Rams apparel available for 50%-70% off. Why anyone in St. Louis would want it, I don’t know. But unfortunately for the retailers, it’s still there. By the way, she told me that they had the same amount of stuff that they had a month ago.

As Sports Authority closed about a month ago, I stopped in the Bridgeton store on it’s second-to-last day of operation. Pretty much everything was picked over and in skeleton-supply, except the Rams stuff. Even at clearance, going out of business prices, people in the market don’t want anyone to think they’re a Rams fan.

So the team has gotten what it wanted, and is making money hand over fist in the land where streets are paved with gold. Rich people are going to flock to the Los Angeles Coliseum, and in several years the new stadium in Inglewood.

But I wonder if, in the long run, it’ll be a good thing for the NFL to completely alienate a region of 2.8 million people. Not that they care, but they’ve done so.

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