For Wizards games, you might want to eat before you get to the arena

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verizon.JPGAmong those hundreds of things Ted Leonsis was going to get around to fixing, not giving anyone food poisoning should be at the top of the list.

Every single foot vendor at Verizon Center — home of the Washington Wizards and NHL counterpart the Capitals — were found with a critical violation in the last year, according to an ESPN report. Ten of the sites were found with mice, um, droppings. ESPN looked at the food health inspection reports for every major league sports arena in the United States, and only the scourge that is Tropicana Field could match the Verizon Center in bad food preparation.

And you thought the cost of parking was making you sick.

This is Verizon Center, which as Sports By Brooks noted, in 2006 banned people from bringing food into the arena because they want to improve food safety and not have outside contamination coming in. Of course that was the reasoning. It certainly that had nothing to do with making you spend more money in the arena.

Ted Leonsis now owns the Wizards, the Capitals and the Verizon Center. This is one of those things that ultimately falls on the owner to change. It’s the “everything is the CEO’s responsibility” theory. He didn’t cook the food, in this case ARAMARK runs the standard concession stands and Levy Restaurants runs the suites. And they let him down. And now he’s got to get it fixed.

There has been no outbreak of food-born illness from Verizon Center (or any other park) but this is a matter of perception. Leonsis wants to change the image of the Wizards. This is where you start. Well, this and John Wall.