League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

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League of Fans is motivated by people, just like you, who are upset with what has become of our sports and would like to make a difference. We work with concerned citizens, sports fans, civic groups and communities to increase awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, influence a broad range of issues in sports at all levels and encourage the cooperative capacities that make the "sports powers-that-be" capable of helping, not just dominating, our society and culture.

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We often think of sports as outside the realm of everyday citizen concern. But the many benefits to society that sports can provide are sometimes undermined by a different set of values, often based on the quest for higher and higher profits at the expense of fans, taxpayers, communities, culture and social justice.

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Ralph Nader and League of Fans call for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Relocation Committee Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to stop trying to intimidate DC Council into withdrawing amendment to stadium bill

December 17, 2004

Allan H. Selig
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167

Jerry Reinsdorf
Major League Baseball Relocation Committee
333 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60616

Dear Mr. Selig and Mr. Reinsdorf:

Finally, someone has stood up to your merciless bullying of the District of Columbia for this atrocious corporate welfare stadium deal.

DC Council Chair Linda Cropp sent a clear message on November 30th that she had concerns with the stadium bill but would let it pass through the first reading with expectations of something better. Cropp expressed that she would need some reasonable "concessions" from Major League Baseball before the second reading.

What was your answer to the Council? No concessions on sharing cost overruns. No concessions on the compensatory payment by the District to the team if the stadium is not completed on time. And no charitable fund commitment beyond devoting "net proceeds" from one exhibition game. That is simply offensive. No paltry concessions from you in exchange for a $584 million publicly-funded stadium project? No longer surprised by your level of avarice, we must express amazement at your unrelenting arrogance.

Major League Baseball is lucky that this sweetheart stadium deal was approved at all. Despite the modest amendment to the bill that you consider "wholly unacceptable," this remains an awful deal for District residents with what would still amount to a 76 percent publicly-funded project and a $442 million subsidy to Major League Baseball. You wouldn't require such a windfall if you were truly capitalists rather than corporate freeloaders on the taxpayers.

Don't blame Ms. Cropp for this dissolving stadium deal. It would have self-destructed on its own given: the subordination of priorities for the necessities of many District residents and their children; the overwhelming opposition of an aroused and determined citizenry; and the numerous forthcoming challenges, legal and otherwise for the site you desire. Already, the costs for this debacle have gone through the roof.

Do yourselves a favor and spare the District and the nation's capital your disrespectful intimidation tactics. The RFK Stadium site is still available and ready for Major League Baseball to attract and invest its own capital to renovate or build anew.


Ralph Nader
P.O. Box 19312
Washington, DC 20036

Shawn McCarthy
League of Fans
P.O. Box 19367
Washington, DC 20036