January 15, 2016
He never cared, and he never will. That’s the worst part of it.
I’m a few days late with my reaction to Stan Kroenke’s pillage of and departure from St. Louis. This week has been busier than I imagined any syllabus week could be. Plus, as huge of a sports fan as I am, the Rams lost me over the past three years. Of course, that was Kroenke’s vicious design all along: be so complacent that St. Louisans stop caring so he could play a pity card that would buy him a new home in Los Angeles. But despite my relative ambivalence, I’m livid nonetheless for the way Kroenke hustled his town and held us hostage at the cost of at least $500 million from taxpayers that the affluent County was exempt from and that City residents never were given the liberty to vote on.
My allegiance grew thin, but still. Fuck you, Stan. Fuck you.
I say all of this as someone acutely aware of St. Louis’s shortcomings. Yes, it’s probably fair at this point to speculate that we might be on our way to becoming the next Detroit. Our city’s public education is a disgusting excuse for a guaranteed service; its roads are potholed and traffic lights obtrusive; its poverty levels are terrifying (over 40% of children in St. Louis City live below the poverty line); the absurd Great Divorce between City and County some 140 years ago continues to hinder the entire metropolitan area; and population trends haven’t been wonderful. All of these issues won’t be fixed with money, but it wouldn’t hurt to allocate some of that $500 million that was on the table for a stadium for a billionaire that would be used 10 times every year. If I had to guess, though, odds aren’t high that any of that will happen. St. Louis has grown too comfortable being stagnant.
In high school I wanted to move away for college. I love my hometown, but I felt I needed to get away. When financial reasons prodded me to SLU, I fell in love with this university. When I spent four months in Galway Ireland, a city I loved but would never live in again, I couldn’t wait to return home to my richly imperfect city. But I’m again ready to leave here for a bigger city, such as Chicago. After I graduate, I honestly hope I’m getting out of here. So, Stan, I understand that St. Louis isn’t the most desirable city, and it would be ignorant to pretend economic opportunities are greater here. But I’m not going to wipe my ass with St. Louis on my way out. Even if I married into the Walton family like he did, I wouldn’t ever dream of supplanting a team that so many people are so deeply connected to and tearing out a part of the city’s heart. It’s despicable.
The saddest part is that there’s no way he cares.
He knows exactly what he did. He’s far too intelligent not to. People are calling for his head here in St. Louis so they can rip off his toupee and send Robert Quinn after him. But he’ll simply never care that he gave St. Louis two losing options and painted himself as a pariah. It’s all a part of the disgusting game of unchecked greed. We want to spit on his mustache and hold his toupee high above his head as he flails below for it, irritated like a third grader whose babysitter holds his juice box out of reach. But to those in his circle, he just did something amazing. He has a few fans, I guess.
So go enjoy the LA Rams, Stan. You won’t be able to see St. Louis from your owner’s suite in Inglewood, but we’ll be holding our middle fingers high at you forever. I wish you cared that we all hate you so much, but you proved already that you aren’t a regular human. As a conniving and perpetual liar, you took no issue using the 2.8 million citizens of this metropolitan area as tools to help you not only escape, but also leave us with two fewer sports teams than Detroit and one fewer than Cleveland. If the Rams somehow ever win more than 8 games again, I’m not sure you’ll feel the joy that comes with winning. I don’t think you can feel at all, you son of a bitch. You’ll never understand, and that’s the very worst part about you.
And for that, I actually am sorry.
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black (And by inferiors in reference to Kroenke I mean financially inferior because in no world is he superior to anyone I know in any other way.)