The passing of Sean Taylor was a pretty surreal moment for me. I went to bed on Monday evening, probably like many of us, thinking that he would be okay. The coverage on Washington, DC’s Comcast Sports after the Wizards-Mavericks game seemed to indicate that the positive signs shown from Taylor meant that recovery was imminent. Part of my morning alarm routine involves my bathroom television coming on at a certain time, to coincide with my blackberry alarm. On most days, except for after Redskins losses because I want a little separation from the sports world, the station is tuned to ESPN 2 for the Mike & Mike In The Morning broadcast. Today, Tuesday November 27th, I woke up to the sentence that Sean Taylor had died about an hour earlier that morning. Yes, a surreal moment. Yet, I can’t begin to imagine how shocking the news of his death was for family, friends, teammates, coaches, the entire Washington Redskins organization, and anyone who ever had personal contact with Sean Taylor. When I first heard of the incident on Monday morning, the shooting itself, I was taken back a little, but casually figured that Sean Taylor would survive.
The thing is, I wasn’t even shocked that Taylor was shot in the first place. And I can’t pin-point the exact reason for this feeling. Even Michael Wilbon, in one of the several versions of Pardon the Interruption leading up to Monday Night Football, said that he was not surprised when he heard about the shooting. I’d be willing to bet that this was the case for many of us, but why?
The very first Washington Post online story released around 11:26 am on Monday, November 26th could not yet provide any details outside of the fact that Taylor had been shot in his home, and that he’d been air-lifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The article went on to give a brief account of Taylor’s time with the Redskins, along with the fact that he grew up in south Florida, the son of a police chief. Then followed the run down of Taylor’s troubles since he entered the NFL, including the ATV assault incident, the suspicion of drunken driving, the skipping of off-season workouts, the absence from the NFL mandatory rookie symposium, and the spitting in the face of Michael Pittman.
In an email chain among friends, my boy Chris expressed his displeasure at the simple fact that the article mentioned Taylor’s previous run-ins with authority: