St. Louis’s Edward Jones Dome—now the Dome at America’s Center—was a piece of crap football stadium for many reasons, just one of which was a wide warning track of concrete that ran around the stands and presented a hazard for be-cleated football players whose actions and momentum occasionally carried them onto its surface. If there was any silver lining to Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s bottomlessly cynical drive to relocate his team to Los Angeles, it was that the Rams would no longer host football games in that heap. But thanks to a Reggie Bush lawsuit and a St. Louis jury, leaving town has not let the Rams wriggle out from under the consequences of their former stadium’s crumminess.
Back in November 2015, Bush, then with the 49ers, slipped and slid and tore his left ACL on that awful concrete ring after he was guided out of bounds on a punt return, ending his season and effectively ending the productive part of his football career. A few months later, in January 2016, Bush sued the Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission, describing the warning track as a “concrete ring of death” and claiming that those responsible for the arena “showed complete indifference to or conscious disregard for the safety of Mr. Bush and others.” Bush’s lawsuit sought damages for the conditions that led to his injury, “in excess of $25,000.”
Today, per a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a St. Louis jury “found the Rams 100 percent liable” for Bush’s injury, and ordered that they pay him a combined $12.45 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Rams lawyers reportedly attempted a forensic examination of the fall itself, offering the hilariously bogus explanation that the totally natural jogging Bush was doing immediately prior to slipping on the concrete surface was actually what nuked his knee:
At trial, jurors were shown video clips of Bush’s injury numerous times in real-time and in slow motion as doctors offered opinions on whether the concrete caused Bush’s fall or if previous injuries contributed to it. Rams lawyers elicited testimony that Bush may have heard and felt a pop in his knee before reaching the concrete strip off the sidelines.
Needless to say, that alternate theory fell flat, and the jury’s award fell in line with what Bush’s lawyer reportedly asked for in closing arguments, a sum to match what Bush might’ve expected to receive in free agency following a full season played on the one-year contract he’d signed in San Francisco. It sucks that this happened to Reggie Bush, unambiguously. But it’s also lovely that a St. Louis jury was given the chance to stick it to Stan Kroenke and the Rams two and a half years after they skipped town, and from 1,800 miles away.