Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin wants the Washington Commanders to relocate to Virginia, but after funding plans fell apart during the last legislative session, the path forward is not yet clear.
“If the Commanders are going to relocate they should relocate to Virginia,” Youngkin recently said while visiting Annandale for a rally geared toward parents, according to ABC 7.
A bill to create an incentive to bring the Washington Commanders NFL team to Virginia is dead after months of accumulating concerns over tax breaks, traffic, the team’s brand quality, and its controversial leadership. On Thursday, bill sponsor Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) told The Washington Post that the final issue was Commanders defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s comments about the January 6 riot in the U.S. Capitol.
Del Rio had tweeted about 2020’s “summer of riots,” and in followup comments recorded by NBC Washington, he said, “Businesses are being burned down. No problem. And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re not gonna talk about — we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards.”
In an appearance on 106.7 The Fan, State Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) expanded comments on his opposition to a Washington Commanders stadium authority bill. In a Wednesday press release, Petersen said he was concerned by traffic problems at a proposed Woodbridge site, but focused on the team’s recent move away from its controversial former name “Washington Redskins.”
“It’s not that I don’t like the new name,” Petersen told BMitch and Finlay Thursday. “I mean, I don’t care. The problem is the team has no brand, it has no identity. And you’re asking the Commonwealth of Virginia to enter a long-term economic relationship with a team that effectively has no brand.”
Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) is opposed to efforts to bring the Washington Commanders football team to Virginia, in part due to concerns over the team’s recent name change.
“I have two concerns. One is that the development is too far removed from an urban setting, unlike Nats Park at The Navy Yard, which will make it solely dependent on vehicle traffic for access. More importantly, I don’t have confidence in The Washington Commanders as a viable NFL franchise,” Petersen said in Wednesday press release.
RICHMOND, Virginia – The General Assembly adjourned its 2022 regular session on Saturday, but Governor Glenn Youngkin is expected to call a special session to complete compromises on a number of bills, including the budget. The budget is the only essential piece of legislation on the list, with a gap between more tax relief in the House proposal and more spending in the Senate proposal.
“I’m pleased by the progress that’s been made in the last couple of days on the budget. And actually I want to thank our legislators on both sides of the aisle for the really good work that they’ve done in the session to date,” Youngkin said in a brief press conference on Saturday afternoon.
Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) is sponsoring legislation to eliminate the federal tax-exempt status of municipal bonds that are used to finance professional sports facilities. In an announcement, Beyer and cosponsors Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA-14) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) explicitly identified the Washington Commanders, who are looking for a new stadium site in the greater Washington, D.C. area.
“Super-rich sports team owners like Dan Snyder do not need federal support to build their stadiums, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund them,” Beyer said in a February 22 press release. “Billionaire owners who need cash can borrow from the market like any other business. Arguments that stadiums boost job creation have been repeatedly discredited. In a time when there is a debate over whether the country can ‘afford’ investments in health care, child care, education, or fighting climate change, it is ridiculous to even contemplate such a radical misuse of publicly subsidized bonds.”
The Virginia General Assembly is working on legislation that may bring the newly renamed Washington Commanders to Northern Virginia. The NFL team is currently based at the aging FedEx Field just outside Washington, D.C., in Maryland, and the team has approached Virginia legislators about potentially building a stadium in the commonwealth. Both the House of Delegates and the Senate have passed bills that would create a football stadium authority to finance construction of the stadium; now, the chambers are evaluating each other’s bills, which have significant differences in tax incentives offered to attract the team.
“I would love to have a professional sports team and a football team in Virginia,” Governor Glenn Youngkin told The Virginia Star on Thursday. “We’ve got a Senate group and a House group in discussions in order to bring a very thoughtful bill to me. I believe that my job is to represent Virginia taxpayers, and so we’ll do a good deal. I just want to make sure that what comes out of the House and Senate gives us the capability to do a good deal because I sure would like Virginia to be the best place to raise a family, live, work, and have a professional sports team.”
The Washington NFL football team on Wednesday officially announced its new name as the “Commanders,” according to multiple news reports.
The team changed its name from the Washington Redskins several years ago, amid decades of pressure from those who said the name was derogatory toward Native Americans.