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Study warns proposed NFL stadium in Los Angeles could inspire terrorism

This Feb. 20 photo taken from the window of a commercial airliner shows the former Hollywood Park horse track in Inglewood, Calif., where St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has proposed building a new NFL stadium. (Oscar W. Gabriel/AP)

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, who proposed plans to build a new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., earlier this year, got some potentially disappointing news on Friday when a study came out alleging the facility would be an attractive target for terrorists. Of course, he might want to take the findings with an entire salt lick. For one, the city already approved Kroenke’s proposal on Tuesday. Plus, the study was commissioned by the sports and entertainment firm AEG, which proposed building a competing NFL stadium near the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the 14-page report overseen by ex-Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge, who found the $2 billion project would offer up “a terrorist event ‘twofer’ ” because of its proximity to Los Angeles International Airport. Ridge found terrorists could try to shoot a plane down from the stadium’s location or attempt to crash a jet into the stadium. Either case, he said, would have “a significant risk profile with the potential to produce consequences that will not only the impact the airport and region, but global interests.”

Ridge’s findings, which again were funded by Kroenke’s rivals, contradict what city officials and aviation experts have said in the past, the Los Angeles Times writes. Citing examples of stadiums located near airports in other locales, including Santa Clara, Calif., and East Rutherford, N.J., most experts say the location entailed no extra safety concerns.

AEG told the L.A. Times their report comes in “good faith,” however, the NFL has not indicated whether they will consider it going forward.

“We feel that the best approach is to look at these things with an independent eye,” NFL senior vice president Eric Grubman told the L.A. Times. “You should assume the NFL has its own experts hired and at work to assess any potential NFL site, in any city, regarding these matters. And it is that advice that we will rely on.”

Kroenke’s project has long been seen as far more attractive than some of the other proposals to bring an NFL team back to Los Angeles, including AEG’s. Unlike some of the other plans, Kroenke had offered to pay for the vast majority of construction costs. He also offered another previously unique incentive — he already owned an NFL team. Last Thursday, however, the owners of the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers came up with their own plan to build and share a stadium in Carson, Calif., which is located just a few minutes from Inglewood.

While this sounds like three (or even four) teams might soon be making their way to L.A., most experts say that chances of that are slim to none. The Washington Post’s own Matt Bonesteel went even further, saying the chance of three teams calling L.A. home was “exactly zero.” The reasoning?

“There’s no chance the NFL wants to dilute one market with so much product, and there’s no chance an NFL owner would want to take that risk,” he wrote.