Virginia Blowhard Governor Glenn Youngkin took a break from anti-mask rants and historic denials to tell voters he intends to force them to give Dan Snyder a billion dollars.
“Virginia should be the best place in America to live and raise a family,” Youngkin said during an appearance last week in Alexandria, Va., to say he wanted to secure a stadium for Snyder in the state. , “and it may be the best place in America to also have a professional football team. A few days later, the house and senate of Virginia passed similar bills that called for the formation of a state stadium authority and outlined a plan to use public money to fund a multi-billion dollar development project centered on building a new home for Snyder’s team, which now plays in Maryland and is known as the Washington Commanders.Snyder would be responsible for financing the entire cost of the project except $1 billion, with the shortfall coming from state bonds and new taxes.
It’s not the first time a Virginia governor has used an appearance in Alexandria to announce a plan to relocate the football team to the Old Dominion. The franchise’s last owner, Jack Kent Cooke, courted then-Governor Douglas Wilder some 30 years ago when Cooke was deciding where to put a stadium he intended to name after himself- same. Cooke had originally hoped to build in DC near the RFK Stadium site, but had to look at out-of-town sites after a nasty falling out with Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly. Cooke’s relationship with Kelly soured after the mayor publicly called him a “bully billionaire” and accused him of patting her on the bottom and constantly calling her “my little lady” at meetings. Cooke and Wilder then struck a deal to build a stadium in a former rail yard called Potomac Yard, located in Alexandria just up the Potomac River from the Mount Vernon mansion that Snyder just bought for $48 million in species.
NFL commissioner Paul Taglibue joined Cooke, Wilder and Washington coach Joe GIbbs at a high-profile press conference at the proposed site in July 1992 to announce their agreement to what was to be called “Jack Kent Cooke Stadium at Potomac Yard”.
“We will have this stadium ready by the 1994 season, and nothing will stop us!” Cooke said.
Wrong and false, as we now know. Residents of Northern Virginia have risen to say they don’t want the state to spend $130 million in public funds on something that will only worsen traffic problems in the area. In October 1992, just three months after the “nothing will stop us” declaration, Cooke and Wilder confessed their deal was dead. Cooke ended up building a crummy stadium in the hell of Landover, Maryland. Over time, the Potomac Yard space became a grotesque retail destination and has since been filled with every big box store and lousy restaurant chain known to man.
It should be noted that the Virginians’ massive rejection of a stadium deal in 1992 came when Cooke’s team was loved by everyone in the region and the popularity of the owner, billionaire tyrant or not, was skyrocketing. Washington had the defending Super Bowl champions, and tickets to home games were probably the hardest to get in professional sports. Snyder in 2022 is a whole different story. By now, he has almost completely emptied the reserves of goodwill he conveyed when he bought the team from Cooke’s estate. The Commanders rank “last dead” in NFL attendance according to a recent poll, and the team has won two playoff games in its 23 seasons under Snyder.
But it was more than losing that made Snyder toxic. Basically, every news outlet to date has reported that Snyder’s workplace has long hosted sexual harassment and marginalization of female employees. The stories of his own creepiness were even aired recently during a congressional hearing. As decreed by the editorial board of the Washington Postan article that exposed the grotesque abuse of cheerleaders and many other ills in Snyder’s operation in recent years, no one should give such a rat a dime.
“Virginians should reject any special treatment for Mr. Snyder,” said the To post proclaimed in an unsigned opinion piece that appeared in Saturday’s editions.
But rather than letting Snyder’s-a-creep argument be reason enough not to become a bedfellow with him, the To postThought influencers took a break from slamming the landlord for praising another deal struck by Virginia lawmakers: the 2018 deal to bring Amazon’s new headquarters to the state. “Virginia has enacted a fundamentally different bill providing up to $750 million in grants to Amazon, in 2019, as part of a deal with the company to locate its second headquarters in Arlington County” , reads the editorial. “The funds were explicitly tied and timed to Amazon, creating thousands of well-paying jobs.” The stadium pact, according to the editorialists, would not bring such economic benefits to the state.
Snyder’s bashing detour, brief as it was, was odd and awkward for at least two reasons. Not only does Amazon founder Jeff Bezos own the Washington Post (as revealed in the op-ed), but he also reportedly intended to buy an NFL team, including Snyder’s (as undisclosed in the op-ed). The website Front Office Sports reported in February 2021 that an attorney for Bezos, who built a DC mansion while Amazon’s headquarters were being built in the suburbs, contacted the Baltimore investment bank that was handling the buyout of Snyder’s minority partners to inquire about the sale. Bezos never commented on the report.
Virginia Stadium’s bills were sent to a conference committee to iron out small differences. Youngkin said he would sign the legislation as soon as it was sent to his office. It is not yet known whether the governor will ban the NFL’s face mask mandate or players in the new stadium.
Disclosure: Dan Snyder once sued the author for writing mean things about him.