by D.J. Rippert
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a flying squirrel. Richmond’s Double A Flying Squirrels will soon have company in late July and early August. The Washington Redskins have announced that they will be conducting their summer camps in Richmond starting in 2013. In a brilliant deal, Bob “Blow Dry” McDonnell and Bill “the jobs guy” Bolling have lured the Redskins to Virginia by stealing them from … Virginia. And it only cost the taxpayers $4.4M. The state has decided to provide the NFL’s most profitable team (and the world’s fourth most valuable pro sports team) $4M to stay in Virginia. Not wanting to be sidelined, the City of Richmond has kicked in another $400,000. You can read more about this marvel of economic wizardry here.
“My Wife Was Once a Redskins Cheerleader.” With those words Bob McDonnell defended his decision to pay ransom to the Redskins’ wildly popular and under-privileged owner, Dan Snyder. But keeping his better half happy wasn’t all our aging Ken Doll of a Governor had on his mind. According to McDonnell’s office, recent data shows that the team supports 1,832 jobs here, directly and indirectly, and generates nearly $200 million in economic activity in Virginia. That certainly seems like a lot of economic activity for a team that only operates for five months a year (no time wasted on playoffs), is called the Washington Redskins and plays all of their home games in Maryland. Perhaps JLARC could take a quick sniff at those numbers before our governor heads off to the GOP convention to engage Mitt Romney in a “hair off”.
We’re running away from home! McDonnell sees the $4.4M as a small price to pay in order to keep the Redskins training facility in Loudoun county. You see, the Redskins had been dropping hints that they might just up and leave without some state funded “walking around money.” Lord knows they have lots of good options. They could easily sell their existing training facility to …. another NFL team? Well, they could just tear down the buildings and practice fields and sell the land. Then, they could buy more land in Maryland or D.C. and build a new training facility. The players would love it! Moving to Montgomery County, for example, would push their their state and local income taxes from 5.75% to 8.95%. D.C. is a relative bargain compared to Maryland with a top rate of 8.5%.
You can never pay too much for quality. I am so old I can remember when the Redskins were good. Long, long ago – before the Dan Snyder era. They might have even been worth a $4.4M gratuity in the 1980s. But Dan Snyder, the man who will ultimately benefit from
McDonnell’s your and my generosity, changed all that. Since he bought the Redskins in 1999 they have a 91-117 record having gone through 7 head coaches in 13 seasons. But Snyder is a heck of a salesman (just ask Bob “Balanced Budget” McDonnell). In fact, Snyder’s so much of a salesman, he talked Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs out of football retirement to coach the Redskins a second time. Gibbs’ record under Snyder? 31-36. His record as a head coach without Snyder? 140-65.
Memo to McDonnell: How many teams did you ask to hold their summer camps in Richmond? Giants? Patriots? Packers? Any one of them might have taken a few million dollars to spend 2 weeks a year in River City.