NFL

WFT to retire Sean Taylor’s number, is criticized for event’s timing

The Washington Football Team has announced it will retire the jersey number of late safety Sean Taylor on Sunday. The question many are asking is, why now?

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WFT to retire Sean Taylor’s number, is criticized for event’s timing

The Washington Football Team has announced it will officially retire the jersey number of late defensive back Sean Taylor (21) in a ceremony before their home game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

This makes Taylor only the third player in the team’s history to receive the honor, after Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh (33) and Bobby Mitchell (49).

WFT will also celebrate the renaming of the road up to FedEx Field to “Sean Taylor Road” as part of an alumni homecoming weekend.

Washington players will have a No. 21 decal in honor of Taylor on their helmets, while a limited number of fans will be given a commemorative towel.

Taylor's promising career cut short

Taylor, who played four seasons with the team, was only 24 when he was shot and killed at his home in November 2007 during a burglary. He was posthumously honored as a Pro Bowler and All-Pro and inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame in 2008.

"I came into the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic ability, resilience, grit, and relentless work ethic set him apart," said Washington Football Team President Jason Wright in a statement.

"We will continue to remember him and hold him up as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all strive to mirror his excellence in our own ways,” he added.

Timing of ceremony questioned

While there is no doubt that Taylor deserves the honor, those in the NFL world have been vocal in saying the timing of it is suspect. The club made the announcement only three days before the event.

Washington has apologized for giving such short notice on the plan to honor Taylor. The club says the ceremony had been in the works for a while, and that they have other events planned to pay tribute to the star safety.

The announcement of the tribute comes as the WFT finds itself under close public scrutiny, after emails that formed part of an investigation into misconduct at the team’s workplace were leaked to the media.

Leaked emails were only a select few

The exposure of the email contents led to the resignation of Jon Gruden as Las Vegas Raiders coach, after offensive email exchanges between him and former Washington general manager Bruce Allen were made public.

The investigation involved the review of 650,000 emails, and so far only the ones involving Allen and journalists- Gruden was an ESPN analyst at the time the emails were sent- have been made public. None of the exchanges revealed by the press included those sent by Washington owner Dan Snyder.

The NFL Players Association has called on the league to release the rest of the emails but the NFL has stated it will not do that, nor reopen the Washington Football Team investigation.