Commanders owner Dan Snyder stands behind a lectern in a burgundy and gold jacket during an event where he announced the team's rebrand.
Dan Snyder announces the team's new name in 2021. Credit: Michelle Goldchain

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Is D.C. on the verge of becoming a football town again? Judging by reactions to yesterday’s news that Washington Commanders owner Daniel Snyder agreed in principle to sell the team to a group led by Montgomery County native Josh Harris for just over $6 billion, it certainly seems that way.

Sportico first reported the nonexclusive deal and multiple news outlets confirmed the news with anonymous sources yesterday afternoon. Representatives for the Commanders, the NFL, and Harris have not commented on the agreement. If Snyder signs off on the deal, it will go to the NFL for review by its finance committee. The 31 team owners also must approve of the deal. That could happen next month—league meetings are scheduled to take place May 22–24 in Minneapolis.

The deal isn’t finalized, but this significant announcement hasn’t stopped people from celebrating the potential end to Snyder’s dismal tenure—on and off the field. Online sports apparel shop BreakingT immediately released T-shirts with logos that say “Sold the Team,” a sequel to the shirts that said “Sell the Team,” and “DC Is a Football Town Again.” Dupont bar Madhatter ran its $1 beer deal all night (it usually begins at 8 p.m.) to mark the occasion. And Succession memes suddenly took on a whole new meaning.

While it’s important to remember that this deal could still fall through—nonexclusive agreements leave room for another group to come in—the palpable excitement is refreshing. Perhaps it’s because Harris and two other members of his group, Mitchell Rales and Magic Johnson, have tangible ties to the area. Tilman Fertitta and Steve Apostolopoulos, two other billionaires who’ve submitted bids for the team, have roots in Houston and Toronto, respectively.

Rales, a Potomac billionaire who co-founded the Danaher Corporation, a manufacturing conglomerate, invested a lot of his money in contemporary art, which he displays at Glenstone, the private museum in Montgomery County that draws hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians. Johnson, who is more commonly associated with Los Angeles, made significant investments in Prince George’s County after retiring from the NBA, working to redevelop the former Capital Centre in Largo after the Wizards and the Caps departed for D.C. Urban Coffee Opportunities, his late-’90s partnership with Starbucks, brought the coffee chain to neighborhoods such as Hyattsville and U Street NW. 

Even if this deal does close, there are a number of issues that still need to be worked out, starting with where the team will play home games. (Rales’ art might bring people to Potomac, but can new ownership alone convince fans to trek all the way to Landover?) And Snyder remains the subject of investigations and lawsuits that accuse him of financial mismanagement and sexual harassment. It’s unclear what the sale will mean for those inquiries and any potential consequences for Snyder.

Caroline Jones (tips?

  • Two-thirds of the D.C. area employees who are able to work from home would prefer to do so most of the time, a Washington Post poll finds. [Post]
  • A new, two-year construction project on the GW Parkway is starting tomorrow, April 15. Three and a half miles of the southbound lanes between Capital Beltway and Route 123 will be closed, potentially slowing rush hour commutes. [WTOP]
  • A man armed with a baton carjacked a woman in Northeast Thursday but was stabbed by another person who attempted to intervene. The suspect only made it a few blocks in the stolen car before he crashed into two other vehicles, got out of the car, and collapsed. He was pronounced dead at the scene. [NBC Washington]
  • Dalaneo Martin’s loved ones gathered Thursday to lay him to rest and demand justice. The 17-year-old was shot in the back and killed by a U.S. Park Police officer, who has not been publicly identified. Martin was asleep in a stolen vehicle when officers approached him. “I remember when we was babies, and that little boy pushed me and you beat him. You always protected me,” his younger sister said during the service. [DCist]
  • Metro’s board approved a rate hike of about 5 percent for an average rail trip—the first increase in five years. Officials say the price increase is needed to fund repairs and to support a program that cuts costs for low-income riders. [Post, Twitter]

By City Paper staff (tips?

  • Charter school leaders say Mayor Muriel Bowser’s budget proposal doesn’t go nearly far enough in offering back pay for teachers for work during the pandemic. Bowser met some of the charter sector’s demands for raises matching those won by the Washington Teachers’ Union, but they say it’s still not enough to retain teachers. Should the city match raises for a nonunionized workforce to those won by a union? [DCist]
  • Bowser’s proposed cuts to traffic safety programs and the D.C. Circulator bus would do “​​a lot of damage to our transportation and transit systems,” says Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, new transportation committee chair. [Post]
  • Melinda Bolling, Bowser’s nominee to head the Department of For-Hire Vehicles, is facing questions about her rocky tenure leading another D.C. agency years ago. Should the Council push back against her nomination, the mayor says it would be part of a “pattern” of lawmakers rejecting Black women, a sign that she still has hard feelings from fights over past appointments. [WUSA]

By Alex Koma (tips?

  • Kevin Tien is hosting a night market at the Wharf next month featuring local Asian American and Pacific Islander chefs. Tien, of the Vietnamese restaurant Moon Rabbit, wants to celebrate the AAPI community, and will be joined by Tim Ma, Victoria Lai, Julie Cortes, Patrice Cunningham, Scott Chung, Jerone Grant, and more. [DCist]
  • The Metropolitan Beer Trail opens this weekend. Drink beer, earn points, win prizes, drink more beer. [NoMa BID]

By City Paper staff (tips?

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By Sarah Marloff (tips?

  • The Capitals lost their final game of the season to the New Jersey Devils in overtime. But they weren’t headed to the playoffs anyway, and the loss boosts their chances of winning the first overall pick in the draft lottery. [RMNB]
  • There is no good way to spin it. The Nats are in rebuilding mode. But even if the on-field product is bad, a day at the ballpark is better than most days elsewhere. Here is a guide to attending games at Nats Park this year. [Post]

By City Paper staff (tips?

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