The Washington Commanders are a crumbling empire. The once thriving franchise has been reduced to something worse than a laughingstock over the last two decades. The Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants are a joke. Dan Snyder’s dysfunctional Washington Commanders are a waking nightmare. For someone like me who spent his early childhood a few football fields from the then-new FedEx Field it’s been tough. Since the dawn of my consciousness as a fan of the Washington Football John Does, Snyder’s depravity has pockmarked my experience every step of the way. He assumed ownership in 1999 just in time to meddle with a surging 10-6 team in conspicuous fashion by cleaning house, firing the general manager who built the team, failed miserably trying to buy a superteam and has steadily tanked their brand since.
An entire generation has only witnessed the franchise being run by a corrupt deviant who interferes in the affairs of his organization’s football operations. The NFL has investigated him for repeated instances of sexual misconduct. Congress has even opened several proceedings into the behavior of Snyder and financial improprieties. Attorney generals’ offices in Virginia and the District of Columbia are investigating the franchise’s executives, including Snyder, for breaking financial laws. In April, the Commanders’ former VP of sales and customer service, Jason Friedman, alleged under oath that the team had “two sets of books.” One which was given to the NFL that “underreported certain ticket revenue,” and another which had accurate revenues, per the letter.
However, Snyder remains propped up by the NFL power structure, no matter how exasperated fans get or how many insiders testify against him. Teflon Dan and the Teflon Don who lived on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave until 2021 might be kindred spirits. The good ol’ boys club has seemingly given both a free pass to commit wrongdoings and skate.
If the investigation into Snyder allegedly maintaining two accounting books to shortchange his revenue-sharing commitments turns up evidence, the NFL can save the next generation of employees and fans from having to endure the reverberations from the Snyder regime’s latest blight. Currently, Snyder is in the final stages of wrangling a stadium construction deal in anticipation of the Commanders’ contract with FedEx Field expiring in 2027.
Recently, ESPN’s John Keim disclosed that the Commanders bought $100 million worth of land as a potential stadium site right off an exit on I-95 in Dumfries, Va. That’s approximately 32 miles outside of D.C. Keim also reported that Washington is interested in land in Woodbridge, 23 miles from The District. Moving the Commanders a few dozen miles into a portion of Virginia that’s unreachable by DC Metro may be one of his final nefarious acts. On his way to getting impeached by the NFL’s Executive Committee, he’s threatening to make traffic en route to Commanders games more torturous than watching them has been.
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However, Snyder is so incompetant that the leak to Keim is being used against the team as part of the backlash from local politicians the Commanders need in their pocket to keep his tinpot regime operating. Just in case the NFL doesn’t act quickly on the vote to eject him from the ownership box., a coalition may be forming to prevent him from leaving another permanent stain on the Commies’ future.
Public financing promised for the bill has already been reduced from $1 billion to $350 million and may be shrunk to $300 million. Virginia’s General Assembly can vote on the stadium bill as late as June 1. On Thursday, Virginia State Senator Chap Petersen released a rebuke of the franchise while announcing that he’s pulling his vote for the financing of a stadium project on that Woodbridge land. Petersen’s polemic against the Commanders mentioned the potential congestion a stadium in Prince William County would create among a range of issues and should give Snyder serious whiplash. The state senator is a diehard fan who once founded a “[racist name] Pride Caucus” to defend the previous team name and was a main backer of the previous bill.
Here’s a bit from Peterson:
I’ve had a chance to closely read the legislation several times in its original and amended form. I’ve also followed the news as the team has obtained an option on land in Virginia to build a stadium and surrounding mixed-use development. I respect the fact that it might create jobs and revenue in Prince William. However, I do not plan to support the project or Virginia’s pursuit of this NFL franchise.
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.
I grew up a Washington [racist name] fan and was a season ticket holder for 22 years. That team defined our community for multiple generations. The Washington Commanders are not that team. They have no history, no tradition and no fan base. I do not consider them an appropriate economic partner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, because I don’t think they have the community support to survive.
Petersen may have an unusually strong sentimental longing for the old racist moniker, but that official franchise name has been six feet under for nearly two years. Two months ago, he was on board. When it rains, it pours. On Thursday evening, Petersen’s fellow state senator Jeremy McPike, an early supporter of the bill went on 106.7 The Fan’s “Grant and Danny” show to announce that he was also switching his yes vote to a no. McPike was most concerned about the insane traffic congestion from DC and Maryland, the project would bring and he’s right.
Later on Thursday evening, a third state senator, Barbara Favola from Arlington also pulled her support according to the Washington Times. One is a coincidence, two is a pattern, but three is a shift in the tide. The bill in the General Assembly had broad partisan support, but in the wake of revelations about NFL owners whipping votes to oust him, it sounds like Snyder’s Commanders are losing support from lawmakers as well. Better late than never. Welcome to the club.