I’ve heard this on the local NPR station a couple of times, but this ESPN story is the first online reference I’ve seen:

The Washington area subway system wants the NFL to pay for extra service for last week’s season-opening celebration on the National Mall.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority asked the NFL to send a certified check for $57,000.

“The check must reach the Authority no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 19, 2003,” read the letter signed by Metro Assistant General Manager for Communications Leona Agouridis.


An NFL spokesman last week scoffed at the request, saying league officials did not believe the extra service was necessary.

The cash-strapped transit agency needs every dollar it can get. Metro already increased fares about 9 percent in June, and faces a projected $1.3 billion budget shortfall over the next six years.

Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein suggested that NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue bring a check when he attends a Sept. 17 dinner at the National Building Museum, just across the street from Metro headquarters. Farbstein said she would “be happy to pick it up.”

“It can’t get more convenient than that,” she said.

Indeed not!

While the NFL can certainly afford the tab, the concept that they’d be liable for a decision made by someone else to provide extra subway service–that turned out to be unnecessary and for which they did not agree in advance to pay–is a head scratcher.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. jen says:

    Metro has been scrambling for this money since before the extravaganza. The original amount requested was $64K.

  2. Paul says:

    “The check MUST reach the Authority no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 19, 2003,”

    Now… If this does not show the presumptuous nature of governmental agencies on taxation nothing does.

    Here they are BEGGING and the say the check MUST arrive. How completely  freaking nervey. Especially when you consider this…

    Two weeks ago they warned potential riders that there might be long delays and at the time they said:

       “We’ve never handled an event like this before,” (Wash Times)

    So they admit ignorance but want the NFL to pay for it!



  3. Tirebiter says:

    So who forgot to collect the fares from all the riders? Did WMATA open the turnstiles and let everyone ride for free?