RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The effort to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia appears dead after the lawmakers behind the push decided to pull the bill from consideration.
House Appropriations Chairman Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach) told 8News reporter Jackie DeFusco on Thursday that the stadium bill that would have used tax breaks to bring the team to Northern Virginia won’t be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes to vote on Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s amendments and vetoes to the state budget.
Del. Knight and Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) introduced the bills in their respective chambers, and both were passed during the 2022 regular session.
But the legislation was in negotiations and didn’t get voted on when lawmakers returned to the Capitol to approve the state’s two-year budget plan on June 1.
The measure would have created a stadium authority made up of nine members that would oversee the financing for the construction project. The group would have been “authorized to hire independent contractors, enter contracts, acquire property, borrow money, and exercise other similar powers.“
Knight told DeFusco that he didn’t believe it was a good financial deal for the commonwealth. Other state lawmakers have raised concerns throughout the process, pointing to sexual harassment allegations against team executives and its owner Dan Snyder.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) opened an investigation into the Commanders after the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform made allegations of financial improprieties against the team in a letter to the Federal Trade Commission and multiple attorneys general.
State Sen. Saslaw’s office did not respond to 8News’ requests for comment or an interview. A team spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.
On Wednesday, the team’s defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio made headlines after calling the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a “dust up” when comparing it to protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
“People’s livelihoods are being destroyed, businesses are being burned down, no problem,” Del Rio said about racial justice protests in the summer of 2020. “And then we have a dust-up at the Capitol, nothing burned down, and we’re going to make that a major deal. I just think it’s kind of two standards.”
Del Rio later apologized for referring the riot as a “dust-up,” writing that it was “irresponsible and negligent.” But the damage appeared to be done, with state Sen. Jeremy McPike (D-Prince William) saying it “sealed the deal” on his no vote.
8News Capital Bureau Reporter Jackie DeFusco contributed to this report.