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Volume 25 No. 196
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Local Officials Oppose Redskins' "Backdoor" DC Stadium Attempts

DC Council Member David Grosso "urged" U.S. Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-DC) to "do all she could to block what he called a 'backdoor attempt' to pave the way" for the Redskins to build a new stadium in DC, according to Clarke & DeBonis of the WASHINGTON POST. Grosso is the "second council member to publicly oppose" the plan to "insert a provision granting a 99-year lease extension" on the site of RFK Stadium in a federal spending bill set to be voted on before Congress adjourns next week. Grosso has "long opposed the Redskins' name and logo, which he considers racist and offensive." Yesterday, U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), who will also chair the House Natural Resources Committee next year, "voiced his discomfort with the team name and suggested it could be a stumbling block if the city seeks a lease extension on behalf of the Redskins during the next legislative session, when Democrats take control of the House." This is "largely why" Redskins Owner Dan Snyder and DC officials have "been working quietly to get the long-term lease approved before the current Republican-controlled Congress adjourns" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).

NOT THE ONLY ISSUE AT HAND: In DC, Barry Svrluga wrote this is "just the start of the story, because even if language pertaining to the RFK site sneaks into the massive spending bill," it would "only clear the way for the land to be used for a stadium and potential development around it." It does not mean that a stadium "would be built there, or that the development will follow." Svrluga: "Brace yourself for the wrangling and war of words to come." Of all of the Redskins' "problems, and they are many, the current stadium is high on the list." FedExField not only "doesn't provide a reason to go to games, it has been built in to fans' litany of justifications for staying away." The Redskins franchise has "managed to gather up an amazing straight flush of problems: It has an owner the fan base can't stand, employing a team president the fan base doesn't trust, putting together a team that ... has crumbled with four straight losses to fall to the fringe of the postseason picture, coached by a man who inspires no real sense of long-term confidence playing in a building where no one really wants to spend an afternoon" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/12).

THE REAL WINNER: In DC, Thomas Boswell writes under the header, "The Real Winner Of Redskins Stadium Derby Will Be Whoever Doesn't Get It." Boswell: "I don't care if or where Snyder builds a new stadium. I just hope everyone in the DMV understands that the shabby way Snyder deals with his own customers -- and the way he is playing politicians against each other while keeping some of them in the dark -- is exactly the behavior they can expect if he moves to their turf." The "bigger the project -- and this ego-driven monstrosity no doubt would be vast -- the worse it can turn out." Boswell: "For your wallet or your quality of life." It looks as if Snyder "hasn't told his personal politicians in Maryland that he is simultaneously trying to wangle a sweetheart deal in DC." Snyder also "hasn't told the politicians in DC who want to get in bed with him that he is playing footsie" with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at the "same time." For years, the Redskins "talked about building their dream stadium in Northern Virginia," where the team's HQ is located. No reports have "surfaced of secretive discussions." However, the team and Northern Virginia are "not as cozy since the team moved its preseason training camp to Richmond." Boswell: "Now guess which city is moaning about getting a bad deal with the Redskins: yes, Richmond" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/13).