If there is a former Washington player worthy of the honor, it is Taylor. The hard-hitting safety, who was tragically murdered at just 24 years old in 2007, had already cemented himself as one of the NFL’s best defensive players. He’s a beloved figure within the Washington fan base.
The timing, however, is quite curious. The decision comes with very little notice, after a week that has been underscored by the NFL’s investigation into conduct within Dan Snyder’s franchise. The leaking of emails leading to the Jon Gruden scandal and the sticky situation with Adam Schefter has led to a very tough week for the sport, and we haven’t even heard what the NFL has found about Snyder’s staff yet.
Naturally, many are skeptical about the decision to retire Sean Taylor’s jersey so abruptly, as a potential diversion away from the investigation. The franchise is getting called out over it by numerous fans online.
So WFT has been planning to retire Sean Taylor’s number for months but didn’t say anything to anyone until 3 days before the game. Okie dokie.
— Frank Schwab (@YahooSchwab) October 14, 2021
Sean Taylor deserves this honor a thousand times over. Announcing this on Thursday of a week where your organization’s impropriety is again in the news is at BEST tone deaf/unaware, and at WORST the gross use of a man’s legacy as a deodorant for the situation
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) October 14, 2021
Using Sean Taylor as a smokescreen. Dan Snyder is deep in his bag now. https://t.co/aQt8yuaUsO
— Razor Jamón (@CPoTweetsStuff) October 14, 2021
The fact that Dan Snyder is only retiring Sean Taylor number now when it should’ve been done years ago because he’s trying to draw attention away from the email scandal is messed up https://t.co/yiyVv3dYWE
— jw (@iam_johnw2) October 14, 2021
Sean Taylor is one of the greatest players ever and deserves this honor but using his legacy in the midst of all this mess is next level low even for Dan Snyder. https://t.co/T8pGh7sn75
— P-E Juste (@pejuste) October 14, 2021
This isn’t the first time Washington has made a big decision right around the time that the franchise has been embroiled in scandal. In early July 2020, it was reported that the franchise was exploring a potential name change, away from the former racist moniker, amid pressure from sponsors. Weeks later, on July 16, The Washington Post published its bombshell report on the culture of sexual harassment within the franchise.
On July 23, the franchise announced that it would go by “Washington Football Team” for the time being.
Retiring Sean Taylor’s number is certainly commendable, and I’m sure a number of fans are rightly excited for the moment. Doing it on three days’ notice is pretty absurd, and it’s fair to wonder whether Taylor’s legacy is being used to launder the Washington Football Team’s image amid an investigation that could be very bad for Dan Snyder.
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