NFL in LA: Study Claims Inglewood Stadium Site Would Pose Terrorism Risk

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2015

Feb 22, 2015; Inglewood, CA, USA; General aerial view of Hollywood Park racetrack. The site is a proposed location for an 80,000-seat NFL stadium by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke (not pictured). Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles stadium battle has taken an interesting turn.

According to Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times, the Anschutz Entertainment Group commissioned former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to conduct a study as to the viability of the Inglewood, California, stadium proposed by a group including St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

Ridge questioned whether Kroenke's planned stadium might be vulnerable to terrorism:

In a 14-page report, Ridge suggests that because the Inglewood stadium proposed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would lie within three to four miles of Los Angeles International Airport and beneath the flight path of airliners, terrorists might try to shoot down a plane or crash one into the stadium, scenarios Ridge described as "a terrorist event 'twofer.' "

Ridge said the Inglewood stadium, part of a planned retail, office and residential development at the now-defunct Hollywood Park, would have "a significant risk profile with the potential to produce consequences that will not only the impact the airport and region, but global interests."

AEG is attempting to get its own football stadium built close to Staples Center. ESPN.com's Arash Markazi noted that AEG has a strong interest in not seeing the Inglewood venue built:

Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi

Construction of Inglewood stadium would officially kill Farmers Field, which is already on life support. AEG has reasons to try to stop it.

Arash Markazi @ArashMarkazi

The value of AEG goes up exponentially with Farmers Field and a piece of an NFL team. Plan's on life support but they want to keep it alive.

Farmer and Fenno point out that those behind the Inglewood stadium have gone down the necessary avenues to ensure that safety wouldn't be an issue.

"In contrast to Ridge's warnings, city officials as well as aviation experts have said a stadium at the Hollywood Park site is not a safety concern," they wrote. "The Federal Aviation Administration, in environmental impact reports, has twice given its blessing to proposed stadiums in Inglewood."

Gene Maddaus of LA Weekly reported that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti declined to offer a comment about Ridge's study.

Earlier in the week, the Inglewood City Council approved plans for a $2 billion stadium with a unanimous vote, clearing a major hurdle toward getting professional football back in Los Angeles.