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Mayor Muriel Bowser made one thing very clear on Wednesday afternoon: She wants the local NFL team to build its stadium in Washington, D.C.
At the team’s annual “Welcome Home Luncheon,” at the Marriott Marquis, Bowser sat next to team owner Daniel Snyder and essentially made her speech a sales pitch, telling those in attendance, including several D.C. councilmembers and the NFL team’s president, Bruce Allen, to “bring it home.”
According to reporters in attendance, the mayor gave a shout out to the Stanley Cup champion Capitals, the new D.C. United stadium, and other local teams, before adding, “What we think is, there’s something missing.”
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“When we think about the future of the sport in our city we still believe something is missing,” Bowser said, according to The Sports Capitol‘s Brian McNally. “Someone told me former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is here…but I don’t see him. Maybe he is missing.”
The mayor’s office told City Paper that there are currently no plans for team, which plays its games at FedEx Field in Landover, to return to the District. Bowser’s speech at the luncheon took place just a few hours after she attended a groundbreaking for the first phase of a $489.6 million redevelopment project at RFK Stadium, the team’s former home in Southeast.
“The Mayor will always say our Washington home team belongs here,” says LaToya Foster, a spokesperson for the mayor. “I will say this: If there was a way to bring the team back to the city, she would find it. She does want the team back. They’re our home team, they belong home. We want them back. But there are no plans.”
During her speech, Bowser also used the team’s name, a pivot from May of 2015 when she claimed she stopped using the team’s name and advocated for it to change because “it’s offensive to many people.”
Prior to that exchange, Bowser was asked if one of the conditions of the team moving back to the District would be changing its name. She used the opportunity to make another pitch for the team to return to D.C.
“Well, I did say that I thought that RFK was the best place for the Washington Redskins to locate, and I think that team officials have said as much,” she said, according to The Washington Post. “They have, in fact, tried to replicate RFK Stadium in their designs for a future stadium, including how the seats bounce. We also know that the infrastructure is there and can accommodate fans. So we are exploring—as I expect everybody thinks I would—the best use for those parcels.”