State Senator Halts Bid to Help Bring Commanders Stadium to Virginia amid Scandals

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2022

LOUDOUN COUNTY, VA - JUNE 01: Players helmets are placed on the field during the Washington Commanders OTA on June 1, 2022 at the Park in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Virginia State Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw had been trying to lure the Washington Commanders to build a new stadium in Virginia, but he is now giving up on his stadium bill for the moment, per Laura Vozzella of the Washington Post.

The Commanders reportedly spent $100 million on land in Virginia last month, per John Keim of ESPN.

Saslaw blamed the repeated controversies within the organization, most recently with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio referring to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol as a "dust-up."

Greg Price @greg_price11

Commanders Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio: <br><br>"I can look at images on the TV, people's livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem. And then we have a dust up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we're going to make that a major deal." <a href="https://t.co/99mF3uxUTD">pic.twitter.com/99mF3uxUTD</a>

Del Rio apologized for his wording afterward.

"This obviously was not very helpful to put it mildly, but there’s so many other things out there," Saslaw said. "There were just so many things out there that a lot of people are saying, 'Saslaw, this thing needs to wait.'"

Another Virginia State Senator, Jeremy McPike, specifically cited Del Rio's comments as a reason to vote no on the stadium bill:

Jeremy McPike ☮️ 🇺🇦 @JeremyMcPike

Yup. Just sealed the deal to cast my vote as a NO. I think what’s burning down today is the stadium bill. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Commanders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Commanders</a> <a href="https://t.co/ay2eATAqh7">https://t.co/ay2eATAqh7</a>

Del Rio's comments are only the latest in a long list of scandals for the organization, however. The U.S. Congress' Committee on Oversight and Reform has been investigating allegations the Commanders have a "hostile workplace culture" and requested owner Dan Snyder and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to appear at a hearing.

The NFL fined the franchise $10 million in 2021 after conducting its own investigation into similar allegations, with Dan Snyder's wife, Tanya Snyder, taking over day-to-day operations.

The congressional hearing also featured a former marketing and events coordinator telling the panel that Snyder sexually harassed her. There was also an allegation that he withheld ticket sales meant to be shared with the rest of the NFL.

It could be enough to leave the Commanders in limbo in regards to a new stadium. The organization has played at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, since 1997.