The Washington football team made an announcement Thursday that many fans believed was long overdue. The team will retire Sean Taylor’s # 21 jersey.
Taylor’s number will be retired as part of Sunday’s game against the Chiefs at FedEx Field, as Washington announced on its official Twitter account.
There will never be another 21 💛
On Sunday we will officially remove Sean Taylor’s number
– Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) October 14, 2021
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Taylor was the fifth pick in the 2004 NFL Draft and played 55 games for Washington. He’s had 305 tackles, 12 interceptions, 43 defensive passes, eight forced fumbles and two sacks over his three-and-a-half-season career. He’s made the Pro Bowl in each of his last two seasons and is known for his huge success over Bills punter Brian Moorman in that contest.
Sadly, Taylor’s life and career were cut short as he was murdered in November 2007 after burglars broke into his Miami home. He was shot in the leg during the flight and his femoral artery was severed. He was only 24 years old.
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Taylor was on his way to becoming one of the best goalies in the NFL. He had five interceptions in nine games in 2007 at the time of his death. He was also a fan favorite, so it’s easy to see why Washington is pulling his number.
However, the team has been criticized for the time of the announcement. The NFL is currently embroiled in a scandal resulting from 650,000 emails generated as a result of a Washington workplace culture investigation under owner Dan Snyder. The emails, most of which were correspondence with GM / team president Bruce Allen, led to Jon Gruden leaving the Raiders and criticism of Adam Schefter from ESPN.
Many NFL figures and members of the media took to Twitter and claimed the announcement looked like an attempt to distract from Washington’s involvement in the scandal. They also noted that Washington gave months ‘notice for Bobby Mitchell’s jersey removal last year while giving only days’ notice for Taylor’s ceremony.
They did not remove him on the 10th anniversary of his death in 2017.
They are not removing him on the anniversary of his death this year.
They are withdrawing it, with 4 days’ notice, amid an off-court scandal.
Sean Taylor is the GOAT.
Don’t use it as a distraction. https://t.co/3kg4EbhEMy
– Chad Ryan (@ChadwikoTWW) October 14, 2021
They announced the withdrawal of Bobby Mitchell’s jersey in June for a ceremony in September.
They announced the withdrawal of Sean Taylor’s jersey on October 14 for a ceremony on October 17.
Forgive my skepticism.
– JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) October 14, 2021
Sean Taylor deserves this honor a thousand times over. Announcing it on Thursday of a week when your organization’s irregularity is in the news again is at BEST deaf / subconscious, and at WORST the crass use of a man’s legacy as a deodorant for the situation.
– Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) October 14, 2021
Sean Taylor is one of my favorite players. I know many who feel the same way. But the timing of it seems disgusting. Honoring Taylor’s legacy doesn’t deserve to be accompanied by a cloud of questions like it is now
At best, didn’t see it’s sad
At worst, was using it is sick https://t.co/gl9kPgvyIJ
– Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) October 14, 2021
Giving fans no notice for the removal of Sean Taylor’s number is both silly and insulting.
– Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) October 14, 2021
I think it’s clear that like many other past players and countless fans, Sean Taylor deserved and deserves better than this organization.
– Pete Hailey (@PeteHaileyNBCS) October 14, 2021
and they’re stupid enough to think such a thing would work. the worst part, if they do this for cynical reasons, is that they will ruin what should be a huge moment for Taylor’s family and fans. https://t.co/Q9DGFeI9Ix
– bomani (@bomani_jones) October 14, 2021
You’re dead last in the NFL.
You are hungry for a good ad.
You have a beloved franchise whose perhaps the most popular jersey you have that is in the process of retiring.
And you’re only giving fans three days notice.
– Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) October 14, 2021
Sean Taylor’s number has been unofficially taken down, so that’s a good thing, and I’m happy for all of Taylor’s friends and family that it’s happening.
But the timing on this … I mean, come on … https://t.co/qwm1rkWI03
– Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 14, 2021
Using Sean Taylor as a publicity stunt and removing his issue with 3 days notice is all you need to know about how slimy Dan Snyder can be. Really just a bad person through and through.
– Nate (@BarstoolNate) October 14, 2021
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Washington responded to the speculation shortly after their announcement and explained that the event had been in preparation for weeks.
“We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans how we will celebrate Sean Taylor’s legacy over the next month,” a team spokesperson said, per Matthew Paras.