When the Washington Football Team announced last week it was retiring Sean Taylor’s jersey on four days notice, it felt like a hastily thrown together mess designed to direct attention away from the team’s off-field issues, stemming from an investigation by the NFL for sexual harassment.
Team officials swore there wasn’t an ulterior motive and the rollout was a messaging problem. Officials said the event had really been planned for months, and the perception that this was a quick turnaround to serve as PR cover wasn’t accurate. Now, after the team’s “ceremony” on Sunday (which I purposefully put in quotes to underscore how lackluster it was), we can say with certainty that if the team had indeed been planning this for months, then whoever oversaw this should never be asked to plan anything again.
Every single aspect of this felt hasty, lazy, and at times flat out offensive.
The road was re-dedicated in front of porta-potties.
The sideline number tribute was in the area where VIPs stand.
The half-time ceremony involved no speeches or recognition.
The owner wore a hoodie to the pre-game meeting with family. pic.twitter.com/HeroBghuK8
— Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 18, 2021
Let’s break these down:
No. 1: Let’s give the team the benefit of the doubt for one second and assume they didn’t have control over the Porta Potty placement. Who thought it was still a good idea to proceed with a street renaming with toilets in the background? Even if it’s not really that offensive, it’s an atrocious photo opportunity and way for Taylor’s family to remember a street being renamed in his honor, with toilets in the background.
No. 2: This is just awful. They stuck Taylor’s number on the field, right where VIPs just walked all over it all day. This was completely in the team’s control and it showed absolutely no class. It prevented a lot of fans from even seeing the number, and didn’t truly honor Taylor at all.
No. 3: Taylor was only the third player in franchise history to have his number retired and it happened without any words from his family or any team official on the field. It was given the same level of gravitas as a dog catching frisbees as part of a halftime show.
No. 4: Dan Snyder is just trash. Do you know that it’s actively difficult to find man photos of Snyder at a game where he’s not in a suit? I’m hardly the fashion police, but have a little class. Your meeting with Taylor’s family and presenting them with a frame jersey, not attending a tailgate party in your hoodie and khakis. Show a little respect.
So yes, forgive me if I’m not buying the whole “we were planning this for months” line, because based on the rollout of Taylor’s memorial this looked exactly like something that was planned on short notice.
I’m happy Sean Taylor’s family got A moment out of this, but it wasn’t the one they deserved.