Should D.C.’s Mayor Shill for the Loudoun County Redskins?
Is it O.K. for Adrian Fenty to campaign for another jurisdiction's team?
The Washington Redskins now make a point of letting folks know they don't belong to Washington. The team puts "Loudoun County" as the dateline on all its press releases. That's an odd practice —datelines are usually reserved for cities, and the team's offices at Redskins Park are located in Ashburn, Va.
But, Dan Snyder had his flacks start adding the county dateline last year after supervisors way out there (Mapquest tells me Ashburn's more than 40 miles from midtown) agreed to pay him $250,000 for the right to call the county the "Corporate Home of the Washington Redskins." And since his boss took the Virginia taxpayers' money, Redskins mouthpiece Larry Michael manages to work the phrase "in the heart of Loudoun County" into his broadcasts about the team again and again.
D.C. has no such business deal with the Redskins. Yet Adrian Fenty of late has done a lot of catering to the team that left the city in a huff after the 1996 season. He declared this week "Beat Dallas Week" at Redskins GM Bruce Allen's behest, and then the Mayor appeared at a team-organized pep rally at Powell Elementary School.
I'm particularly intrigued by Fenty's allegiances to the Redskins this week, because I spent a lot of time lately looking at his very dysfunctional relationship with a sports franchise that still plays in the city, in fact right where the Skins used to play: D.C. United. The soccer team, of course, has been wanting to leave the city ever since the mayor failed to follow through on a pledge to build United a stadium. The D.C.-based franchise and its fans wish the D.C. mayor would show the real home team the same sort of love that he shows the team based in the Corporate Home of the Washington Redskins..
Guess there's an election...