- The Washington Times - Monday, December 10, 2018


Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones cannot make the claim, neither can the New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft.

The late Paul Allen, who owned the Seattle Seahawks, couldn’t make the claim either.

And the WWE’s Vince McMahon, who’s making a football reboot with an XFL team in the District of Columbia, surely can’t claim it.

The “it” (in case you missed my point) is an ironclad claim to a new “America’s Stadium” — in the nation’s capital.

Forget naming such a new stadium, for now, since dollars and cents drive such discussions anyway.

The key to any new stadium, as you know, is the owner, and in the case of the Washington Redskins that owner is Dan Snyder, who was reared as a Redskins fan.

So, with the ’Skins making so many blunders on and off the field, it’s time to wonder: Does Mr. Snyder dream the big dream?

Does he dream of owning his own stadium? In the nation’s capital?

A team run and managed by people who do no more than move around odd-shaped pieces of a puzzle but fail to complete the puzzle?

I don’t know if Mr. Snyder has read Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal,” but there’s a lot of shakin’ and bakin’ going on.

Let’s admit the dollar and cents for now.

For one, negotiating for a major sports franchise and a facility to house it turns on greasing (already-greasy) palms. For another, the so-called DMV has long been sport-lovers’ destination, yet the District is home to its major franchises — the NHL’s Capitals, the MLB’s Nationals, the NBA’s Wizards — but not the NFL’s Redskins.

It’s regrettable that as the season closes, the Redskins can’t win a game if Mr. Snyder paid the opponents’ coaches and players to all place bended knees on the field and claim turf-burn injuries, simultaneously. And don’t worry about the refs blowing their whistles because they, too, check their cellphones for deposits to their accounts.

There’s more important Redskins stuff going on, though — a bit of competition, if you will.

Mr. Snyder wants to reclaim an NFL stake for the Redskins in the nation’s capital, which makes sense (regardless of the disappointing win-loss record).

In the meantime, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is working the Trump administration to keep the Redskins in the Old Line State. Virginia wants a piece of the lucrative pie, too — a destination the late Jack Kent Cooke considered before settling on Prince George’s County.

Cooke tried to work with the federal government, which still holds the deeds to RFK Stadium and its concrete surroundings. If the Trump administration gives Mr. Snyder and D.C. government a nod, such a nod could be similar to the spark that quarterback Josh Johnson gave Redskins at FedEx Field on Sunday.

Indeed, the reason the ’Skins aren’t playing at RFK is because city officials couldn’t get their act together. (A tap on the rear of a fellow team player was okey-dokey back in those days, but not Mayor Sharon Pratt. These days, a man is likely to pull back a stump, unable to play rock, paper, scissors.)

Frustrated but determined, Cooke kept the Redskins name and settled on the Prince George’s site “Raljon,” a combination of his sons’ name.

Between the Redskins sputtering performances and the hyperactive criticism of the team’s name, and kneeling in the name of criminal justice, it’s obvious there are fewer butts in the stands. In fact, Washington is at the bottom of the NFL’s 32-team pack, with Dallas coming in at 26 followed by Indy, Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Cincy and the L.A. Rams.

Money — i.e., politics — is the name of the game. Mr. Hogan and Mr. Trump have a never had a bromance, but if Mr. Trump keeps the ’Skins in Maryland, the race for 2020 becomes very interesting. If Mr. Trump gives D.C. the go-ahead, the Democrats have to decide whether it’s worth a trump card.

Fans, for certain, are hoping Mr. Snyder gets a D.C. go-ahead, since FedEx Field was a temporary home-away-from home, anyway.

Besides, a domed NFL stadium in the nation’s capital could be a perfect fit for “America’s Stadium.”

Talk about inclusion, eh?

Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected]

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