On Monday, the Washington NFL team announced that it will formally retire and change its name, a slur originally used to motivate the murder of Native individuals. The announcement raises numerous concerns relating to what comes next as it associates with both the franchise label and the remainder of professional and amateur sports teams still utilizing and capitalizing from pan-Indian imagery. But it also raises another concern– about land.
The Washington franchise presently plays its house video games at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The group relocated to Maryland in 1997 after betting 35 years in the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Arena, which lies straight west of the Anacostia River, near the Hill East and Kingman Park areas in the heart of D.C. However the land is technically not D.C.’s. The plot that stadium still sits on is owned by the National Park Service and is presently rented to the Washington, D.C., government through2038
For years, D.C. political leaders and neighborhood members have actually called for Congress to pass ownership of the land to D.C.’s government. In a Washington Post column published last November, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed up with four of her predecessors in arguing that the present lease is too restrictive, as it prevents long-lasting planning for the location, which they described as currently being little more than “190 acres of mainly asphalt.” Groups like Fair Budget Coalition and EngageDC have just recently pushed Bowser to invest funding in real estate for low-income Black D.C. residents because of the pandemic, while everybody from district council members to Georgetown trainees have confessed that the RFK school would be a prime area for affordable real estate. Currently, the old stadium is slated to be demolished next year– it’s what follows that demolition, when the Washington NFL team begins looking around for a brand-new house stadium, that ought to have individuals of D.C. paying very close attention to the franchise’s long-overdue change of mind.
The decision by group owner Daniel Snyder to change the team name appeared from the outside to be greatly affected by the financial ramifications that awaited him if he chose once again to cling to the racial slur. Several monetary partners, acknowledging which method the wind was blowing following the uprisings that stretched out from the police killing of George Floyd, notified Snyder that they would not keep their service relationships with the franchise if the slur remained. Money tends to be convincing that method, so he quickly did away with it. His reward, in this case, is that he gets to keep the millions of dollars he currently reaps from licensing and naming-rights handle Amazon and Nike and FedEx a nd contribute to that pile of cash whenever the franchise unveils its new line of jerseys, Tee shirts, and hats. This is currently too good an outcome for somebody like Snyder.
Since the franchise left D.C. proper, there have actually been repeated calls by the city’s mayors, council members, and fans for the team to return. For the previous decade, among the major barriers to this return has been the group name. As it ended up being a hot-button political subject for D.C.’s leaders, pressure built by a campaign sustained by Native neighborhoods and groups led many leaders, consisting of the current mayor’s office, to formally oppose any return to D.C. as long as the R-word remained. It also ended up being a political issue, as both local and federal legislators, like Representative Raul Grijalva, who currently chairs the congressional committee that identifies what National Park Service lands can be used for, opposed a return with the name undamaged. Simply t wo weeks ago, D.C. Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio informed the Post, “There is no feasible course, in your area or federally, for the Washington football team to return to Washington, D.C., without very first changing the team name.”
With the slur retired and a brand-new name pending, the door, at least politically speaking, might be opened for the franchise’s go back to D.C. However that would just be switching one oppression for another. Regardless of the now-widespread knowledge that openly funded arenas are a bad public investment, the arena grift– in which billionaire team owners persuade city board to hold their constituents hostage as they foot the bill for a multimillion-dollar arena– is genuine. Expert sports group owners everywhere continue to raid public money for all they can get their hands on, for the basic reason that regional authorities are easy to persuade with the flash of some cash. This has actually frequently led to budget shortfalls, as was the case in Cobb County, Georgia, where the Atlanta Braves (another franchise in need of a mascot retirement) fleeced the county to the tune of $400 million and required the local library system to scale down
Offered the precarious situation dealing with 10s of countless D.C. residents, the city can not manage to let that 190 acres of asphalt fall back into the hands of an especially craven billionaire. In regular times, the need for affordable housing anywhere in the United States, especially in high-density metropolitan areas like D.C., was already skyrocketing. Now, with the coronavirus and the government’s continued stopped working response to the pandemic having currently forced millions out of work and even more into financial instability, cost effective housing projects are no longer an option however a need.
Last year, Bowser promised to increase financing for affordable housing, even indicating the RFK website in the November op-ed as a prime area for “countless brand-new homes.” But due to current limitations spurred by the pandemic, funding to crucial programs like the Housing Production Trust Fund, which in part supports the program that helps renters approach purchasing residential or commercial property when an owner goes to sell, is apparently going to be cut under the upcoming spending plan.
With any luck, D.C. will invest not in the savings account of Snyder however in itself and its neighborhood members. Vincent Gray, one of the previous mayors who assisted pen the November op-ed and the present council member for Ward 7, was helpful of the team’s return to a D.C.-owned RFK campus in2013 However when he spoke on The Kojo Nnamdi Show last week, he appeared to have moved on from that dream, stating, “I believe that train has actually left the station.”
Gray and the contingent of mayors noted towards the end of their Post op-ed that any discussions of including a new stadium in the RFK campus plans would be ” an argument for a future date and … something we must decide by and for ourselves.” And that is unquestionably reasonable. What happens to the RFK campus need to depend on the people of D.C., specifically those of the bordering neighborhoods who would be directly impacted. Snyder and his team currently invested twenty years humiliating the city. There’s no requirement to hand him an extra bag of complimentary money for doing the absolute minimum after years of combating it.