In the prime of youth
I've been dreading writing this all morning, for a lot of reasons, the biggest one being that a 24-year-old man with an 18-month-old daughter, who was doing nothing but relaxing at home late one night -- and a man who had a long, successful and wealthy life ahead of him -- is dead. That's what I hope people will understand about Sean Taylor, and I had a chance to talk about it this morning with Drew Forrester on WNST-AM's Comcast Morning Show, in my regular Tuesday 9 a.m. spot.
But I have this fear that it's not what some people are going to get from this horrible news. Already, from fans but also, regrettably, from people in my business, this story is being centered on his troubled past, tangles with the law, some involving guns.
A couple of talk-show dopes I listened to before leaving San Diego yesterday -- Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio and Josh Rosenberg on XTRA Sports 1360 AM in San Diego -- figured that the breaking news about the shooting, when Taylor was in critical condition and gaps in information were just being filled in, gave them great opportunity to discuss (in Cowherd's case) how it shouldn't be any surprise that he got gunned down because he's not a good guy, like Tiki Barber or Tom Brady, and to discuss (in Rosenberg's case) the NFL's player code of conduct and mention the likes of Pacman Jones and Tank Johnson. This, because Taylor was a victim of an armed break-in in his home in the middle of the night, with his girlfriend and baby girl with him.
I hate this business sometimes.
Unfortunately, the same sort of thing happened when the Broncos' Darrent Williams was shot to death last New Year's morning: there seemed to be some need to find out whether Williams was somehow culpable for his own violent death. ("Did he have gang affiliations?'' No, but he did have infant children, like Taylor.) Same thing a year ago, when the University of Miami's Bryant Pata was killed the week before the Maryland game. And when, over the summer, NBA players Eddy Curry and Antoine Walker were robbed at gunpoint in their homes and tied up.
People were having a hard time distinguishing victims from perpetrators. For some reason. I can't imagine what that reason could be. ESPN.com writer LZ Granderson, after the Curry and Walker incidents, wondered the same thing.
At some point, we'll discuss whether the Redskins should play this week. Off the top of my head, and in full knowledge of what a logistical nightmare switching the game would be ... I say no.