RICHMOND, Va. — The General Assembly is tabling for the year legislation intended to lure the Washington Commanders to Virginia, a top state lawmaker said Thursday.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw said in a brief interview that there were too many issues to be resolved and controversies surrounding the NFL team for the legislation to proceed. It could be reintroduced next year, he said.
The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The development came a day after an assistant coach for the team issued an apology after initially doubling down on a comparison he made on social media between the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and the protests in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.
The remarks from Jack Del Rio, a former linebacker who now runs Washington’s defense, prompted a quick backlash. Several key lawmakers from northern Virginia who had previously supported the measure said publicly that they no longer backed the deal.
Legislation that would have offered the team lucrative tax incentives to help finance the stadium cleared both chambers this year, drawing an usual bipartisan mix of supporters. But other defectors had raised concerns even before Del Rio’s remarks, worrying about ongoing investigations into the team by attorneys general and Congress, plus transportation concerns.
“You've got the attorney general's thing, you've got all the congressional stuff, other issues to be answered. We decided that it will just remain in conference,” Saslaw said.
The team has been looking into new stadium possibilities for several years. It currently plays at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.