If Mayor Muriel Bowser gets her way, the Washington NFL team will one day return to D.C. But where the team would play should it come back remains an open and fraught question.
Hours after breaking ground on the first part of the $489 million redevelopment of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium site on Wednesday, Bowser told the audience at the team’s annual luncheon that she believes the team should come “home” to the District, according to multiple reporters who were present. The luncheon took place at the Marriott Marquis near the D.C. Convention Center, and Bowser sat next to team owner Dan Snyder.
“When we think about the future of sport in our city, we still think something is missing,” the mayor reportedly said, in an apparent reference to how the District has a professional team for every major sport except football. She ended her comments by saying: “Bring it home.”
Mayor Bowser putting on a SELL here. Shouts out Caps Stanley Cup title (huge cheer), the Bryce Harper led Nats (mild here), the Mystics (kind of a sad cheer), the new DC United stadium. Name checks every local team - “BUT what we think is - there’s something missing.” #Redskins— Brian McNally (@bmcnally14) August 29, 2018
Bowser: “When we think about the future of sport in our city, we still think something is missing.”— Matthew Paras (@Matthew_Paras) August 29, 2018
Here’s DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Redskins owner Dan Snyder at the head table for Redskins annual luncheon. pic.twitter.com/qL5ijruLQO— Jonathan O'Connell (@OConnellPostbiz) August 29, 2018
Bowser concludes her remarks by saying “Bring it Home.”— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) August 29, 2018
That was something.
A spokeswoman for Bowser confirms that the mayor wants the team to relocate to the city, as Bowser has indicated in the past, but says she does not know of any immediate plans to make this scenario happen. The team played its last game in the District in 1996, at RFK Stadium, then moved to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, where its lease runs until 2027.
RFK Stadium is now slated to be torn down—D.C. United moved out last year—but what will replace it has not been settled. The federal government owns the site, and as Wednesday’s groundbreaking heralded, the land around the stadium will be transformed into recreational fields, a market hall, and an indoor sports complex, among other amenities. Still, the team’s name, which is a racial slur, has presented an obstacle to the team returning to the RFK site.
Maryland and Virginia are also trying to keep and nab the team, respectively. And residents who live near the RFK site have expressed strong opposition to an NFL stadium going there. In a statement about the redevelopment of the 190-acre site on Wednesday morning, Ward 6 D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen, who represents the neighborhoods located just west of the site, cited one of the community’s main concerns about a would-be football stadium.
“As we’ve seen, when you build an NFL stadium, it means a whole bunch of parking lots that are only used eight days a year,” he said, calling the groundbreaking a “milestone moment” for D.C. “But today we change that history and begin of a new life for this corner of our city.”
“Soon we will have to bring it down,” the mayor said of RFK Stadium at the groundbreaking.
- D.C. will break ground on part of the RFK Stadium campus redevelopment this week [Curbed DC]
- Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she’s reached out to the Redskins about returning to D.C. [Washington Post]
- Tug of war for new Redskins stadium is complicated by name debate [Washington Post]
- Trump could be D.C.’s ally in bringing Redskins to RFK [Washington Post]
- Capitol Hill residents blast idea of new Redskins stadium at RFK [Washington Post]
- D.C. Mayor Bowser asks Trump for control of RFK Stadium, parkland, golf courses [Curbed DC]
- Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser says she doesn’t use ‘Redskins,’ because ‘it’s offensive to many people’ [Washington Post]