Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nixon Talks Stadium, Finally

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nixon Talks Stadium, Finally

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * The St. Louis stadium task force prepared and submitted a "very actionable" plan to the National Football League, Gov. Jay Nixon said on Friday. The league, Nixon said, fabricated reasons to disregard the proposal and approve the St. Louis Rams' relocation to Los Angeles.

"It was very disappointing that we followed the guidelines, did what folks said, and that wasn't enough here," Nixon said, in his first in-depth interview on the subject. "When you look at everything that was done, we met the guidelines."

In the interview, exclusive to the Post-Dispatch, Nixon explained why he sidestepped votes of the public and of the state Legislature. He discussed the league's feedback on the task force proposal, his meeting with RaIN-Dms owner Stan Kroenke at the team practice facility, and Nixon's hopes for the future of the riverfront site.

He also consistently and ardently chastised the NFL for "making up reasons" to allow the Rams to move to Los Angeles.

League executives responded Friday, saying the NFL spent "a tremendous" amount of time helping cities plan their stadiums, and owners "took a tremendous amount of information into account before making their decision."

Last week, owners rejected a plan by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build a stadium in Carson, Calif., and voted instead, 30-2, for Kroenke's sparkling Inglewood stadium, which has now risen in price to $2.66 billion.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, even U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill all lashed out immediately.

Nixon released a statement, and took questions at unrelated news conferences.

But on Friday, he spoke his mind.

Nixon started work two years ago, when news leaked out that Kroenke had purchased land in Los Angeles, he said. "If you're governor of a state, and a major business in your state is talking about moving, you fight to keep them here," he said.

He met with NFL executives numerous times, first, to "open lines of communication. …

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