The NFL wasn’t very discreet in cracking down on talk of football in St. Louis.
After watching a recording of ESPN’s broadcast of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions late Saturday night, I went to YouTube looking for video of Orlando Pace’s induction speech. I was writing a news piece on the longtime St. Louis Rams left tackle’s induction, and all I wanted was Pace’s quote about the fans of St. Louis, when he thanked them for their loyalty and told them that the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV championship can never be taken away from them.
Unfortunately, though, I quickly realized that the NFL had edited down Pace’s 16 minute, 25 second speech to a brisk 8:01. Maybe that would have been acceptable–most YouTube viewers do have short attention spans, after all–except that every other inductee’s speech is presented in full, based on the speech times provided by Packers beat writer Ryan Wood. Have a look for yourself:
The only reason that this development is extremely frustrating is because the NFL is notorious for filing copyright claims against YouTube users who upload videos with NFL-related footage.
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This likely means that for fans that don’t have the live broadcast of Saturday’s ceremony saved on their DVRs, a large chunk of Pace’s speech will be lost to history.
Edit, 11:22 AM: Good news: while it’s not advertised a single time on the homepage of NFL.com like the videos of every other inductee’s speeches, the complete and unedited video of Pace’s speech can be found deep within the ranks of NFL.com.
For what it’s worth, Pace’s comments (which I’m transcribing from a bootleg video of the speech) only could have been seen as questionable by the most paranoid of PR people: “To the St. Louis Rams fans, I’m so proud to say we brought that city a championship. Thank you for the support that you gave us during that run. No one can ever take that away from you. Thank you.” Pace also thanked deceased owner Georgia Frontiere, who moved the team from Los Angeles to St. Louis, and gave shoutouts to his former Rams coaches and teammates.
Unfortunately, it’s just more of the same for a league that has repeatedly taken negative action towards the fans of St. Louis, while serving the best interests of current Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who may not have been exceptionally pleased by Pace’s suggestions that those fans had something unfairly taken away from them.