There are innumerable tales of local government perks laid out to professional sports organizations. After all, these entities are high in prestige and drive in a healthy bit of tax revenue. At the same time, these policies usually leave politicians treading uneasily when asked to explain why one company can do something so many others cannot.
And so it is in Prince George's County, Maryland, where county officials have granted a sparsely explained exception for the Redskins to violate a state law by allowing patrons to smoke and drink in a high-end cigar bar (ahem, "tobacco shop") located within FedEx Field's expensive Joe Gibbs Level.
Soon after The Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act of 2007 passed, outlawing smoking in most businesses in the state, several Prince George's lawmakers lobbied the statehouse to let the FedEx Field cigar bar, in operation since the late '90s, be the one place in the entire state of Maryland where citizens could light up and toss 'em back indoors.
That failed, but the Redskins still somehow got their wish.
As Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna reports, since the law passed the Redskins have changed the classification of the establishment, branding it as a tobacco shop instead of a cigar bar. Under the law, that would allow smoking to be allowed indoors there, except the language of the law states that nothing but products incidental to tobacco use can be sold in such a shop. And alcohol isn't covered in that case.
When pressed, a spokeswoman for the county health department stated simply that the county chooses not to enforce the law there. And, hey, if you're Dan Snyder, much less a well-heeled Redskins season ticket holder, that must be nice.