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Senators Chap Petersen, Jeremy McPike Explain Why They Are Probably Moving From Voting “Green” to “Red” on the Commanders Stadium Deal

Sen. Petersen asks, "Would it be almost more palatable to do this with an expansion franchise than with the current franchise?"


Yesterday, two Virginia State Senators – Jeremy McPike, who represents part of Prince William County, including the proposed area for a new “Washington Commanders” stadium in Woodbridge, in the State Senate; and Chap Petersen, who represents parts of Fairfax County in the State Senate. Both of these guys had appeared to be supportive of the Commanders stadium deal until very recently. However, based on their comments yesterday on 106.7 The Fan, they’re now both sounding like they’re going to be voting “red” (aka, NO) on this deal with the devil…er, with Dan Snyder. 😉 To listen to what the two Senators had to say, click here for McPike and click here for Petersen. In short:

  • Sen. Petersen has concerns about the team’s management, success on the field, viability, etc. Among other things, Sen. Petersen said, “I look at a team that has been losing attendance…losing market share…TV ratings tracking down for years…a team that does not have a recognizable brand…you’re asking the Commonwealth of Virginia to enter a long-term agreement with this team…What’s the proof they’re going to be the same team in 10 years?…Can we feel confident about this?…If they were successful, if they were putting butts in the seats, then of course…But at this point, I’m not seeing the metrics…I just don’t feel the engagement…If the team was trending up, you’d just say whatever… But that’s just not happening….It was an accumulation [of negative things].” Petersen added, “Would it be almost more palatable to do this with an expansion franchise than with the current franchise? And let’s face it, the answer to that may be yes.”
  • Sen. McPike said that there are certainly positive aspects to this proposal, but he’s very concerned about traffic in the area, saying that needs to be resolved before moving ahead with a major stadium project like this one. Also, McPike says “There’s a lot of stuff going on right now with the Commanders; there’s a lot of things that need to be resolved.”

Personally, I agree with all of the concerns raised by Senators McPike and Petersen, and would strongly urge the Virginia General Assembly to at the MINIMUM hold off on this deal unless/until the numerous problems with the Commanders franchise, Dan Snyder, etc. are resolved. Also, I’m 100% against providing taxpayer-funded corporate welfare to the Commanders, and 100% against putting a stadium in an area not near a central “urban core” and/or near Metro and/or that contributes to sprawl development. On all those counts, this deal seems to be a bad one. Time to “punt” on this one, so to speak…

P.S. By the way, Sen. McPike said it’s likely there WILL be votes on this next week in the House of Delegates and State Senate. So stay tuned…

P.P.S. How much of this sudden change in position is due to political calculation, specifically primary challenges to McPike and/or Petersen from their “left?” Definitely seems like a factor…


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