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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: It's called 'dodging a bullet'

Editor’s Notebook: It’s called ‘dodging a bullet’

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With our office move drawing ever nearer (eight days to go!), a whole bunch of archived editions of the paper are being tossed about as we figure out how we can save as much as we need without overwhelming the new Sun Gazette World Headquarters in aging, yellowing newsprint.

One of the editions that caught my eye was our Fairfax paper from Sept. 18, 2014, which featured as a front-page photo the smiling faces of Rip Sullivan and his attractive family, as “the Ripper” (he says he doesn’t mind that I use that) was sworn in after winning a special election for the House of Delegates.

(In the run-up to that election, we called him “Richard ‘Rip’ Sullivan” in print. After he was elected, we went with just “Rip” and have done it that way ever since.)

But I digress: The real point of today’s piece is that at the top of the front page of that edition was an article remarking that members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors were beginning to get excited about the prospect of the D.C. region (not quite at that point rechristened the Dee-Emm-Vee by the self-professed hipsters in local media) making a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics.


Even the usually circumspect Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R-Springfield) was excited about the idea, so you can imagine how orgasmic the Democrats on the body were.

(Time flies: It was only seven years ago, but three of the five Fairfax supervisors quoted by Brian Trompeter in his article are no longer on the board.)

The Sun Gazette editorial page, however, was a little more clear-eyed in its analysis, noting past efforts to win the Olympics had turned into monumental wastes of time.

“Times have changed, boosters will tell us,” the editorial said. “But have they? Perhaps, but not necessarily for the better.”

“The idea that elected leaders from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, joined with the business community, could pull this off seems a bit of a stretch,” we assessed (accurately if curmudgeonly).

Not to spoil the plot, but the D.C. region didn’t get the 2024 Summer Games. Given the mess that hosting duties have become (even without COVID lurking around), that’s probably a net plus for all of us.

DAN SNYDER’S PROTOTYPE? Here’s one from the wayback machine, checking in on the Northern Virginia Sun edition of Dec. 23, 1958.

In the edition, the owner of the Washington Redskins (remember them?), George Preston Marshall, was coming under pressure to sell the team because of some issues, including the fact that he was, and until 1961 would continue to be, fielding an all-white team, the last segregated squad in the NFL.

But Marshall, like the Danny, didn’t seem to give a crap-a-doodle-doo about his critics. He parried their thrusts with this proposal reported on that day December day in 1958: He’d sell the team, but only if the new owner agreed to allow him to run it for the next 10 years.

Surprisingly, there were no takers for that poison-pill offer, and Marshall (who had founded the team as the Boston Braves in 1932), held onto ownership until his death in 1969.

These days, it’s no longer the [former team name redacted] but the Washington Football Team. And owner Dan Snyder is under a barrage of criticism, much of it from the media (led by the Washington Post). My money’s on the Danny surviving the current storm, and probably any future tempests. My guess is his fellow owners, for their own reasons, have no desire to try and force a confrontation in order to push him out.

  • Scott McCaffrey

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