Sean Taylor was (and still is) a legendary figure in Washington sports. He was a fantastic safety, one of the hardest hitters to ever play in the NFL, anchoring Washington's defense for the short time he was in the league. At only 24, in 2007, he was tragically killed protecting his family during the burglary of his home.
Teams will announce retirement ceremonies, alumni weekends, and prime time games months in advance. Heck, even bobble head giveaway dates are announced before the season starts. Yet, the Washington Football Team announced Sean Taylor’s jersey retirement only three days before its date.
To make matters worse, the announcement came only hours after news surfaced that “Washington offered a financial settlement earlier in 2021 in exchange for the silence of former female team employees who allege they endured sexual harassment while working with the organization” (football team today Instagram/Washington Post). At the same time, an investigation into the Washington Football Team revealed blatantly offensive emails authored by (then) Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who resigned after the news broke. Included were controversial emails between former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and the NFL’s general counsel, Jeff Pash. Naturally, the Taylor announcement took away some of the attention from this important investigation. This eyebrow-raising timing has some fans questioning if the ceremony was just a PR stunt by Washington’s management.
The actual ceremony took place on October 17, at halftime of Washington’s game against the Chiefs. It was only the third jersey retirement in all of Washington’s historic existence, yet many fans weren’t able to make the trip to FedEx field because of the short notice given by Washington. Of the limited fans that did come, only 10,000 received a commemorative Sean Taylor rally towel. The jersey retirement, which Washington claimed it had been “planning for weeks”, just included Taylor’s family posing next to a framed Sean Taylor jersey, and a minute long tribute video played on the jumbo trons. To those who tuned to the ceremony in person or via the team’s social media live streams, it was simply underwhelming.
“Underwhelming” is a word that has never, and should never, be used to describe the great Sean Taylor.