I know I didn't leave this open for everyone to compete to be a guest blogger on this subject, BG1906 -- Bryce Gaylor asked me if he could write on Sean Taylor and I figured, why not? He's been a voice on this blog for a long time. And I'll always have room for friends... Here is Bryce's take on Sean's death.
Damn…When will it end?
I was awakened yesterday morning by my wife as she was preparing to leave for work. As she always does, she gave me a soft kiss on my forehead and told me that she loves me. I told her that I love her as well, and to be safe out there. She said ok, but this morning she had something more to say. She informed me that it had been reported that Miami Hurricane great and current Washington Redskin Sean Taylor had died from the gun shot wound he had received a day earlier. Wow! I was numb! I immediately woke from my slumber in a state of shock, and all I could say was DAMN! Not only damn because a beloved brother from The U had been slain in a senseless act of violence, but damn because a man’s family, friends, teammates, and fans were robbed of a son, a father, a future husband, a friend, and for the Legion of Hurricane fans, a true Cane through and through.
While I no longer reside in South Florida, I can only imagine the pain being felt down there by the tragic loss of one of our own. As a current resident of the Washington, DC area, I can truly say that this is one of the saddest days I can remember since moving here in 1987 as a high school freshman. The entire DC Metro area—No, in fact the entire Mid-Atlantic region from Washington, DC up to Boston (which I like to refer to as Hurricane Alley because of the sheer number of Hurricane players that play pro football in this region: Ray Lewis, Willis McGahee, Ed Reed, Clinton Portis, Rocky McIntosh, Santana Moss, Jerome McDougal, Najeh Davenport, Jeremy Shockey, Sinorice Moss, William Joseph, Jeff Feagles, Jonathan Vilma, Roscoe Parrish, Kevin Everett, Orien Harris, Vince Wilfork, Brandon Meriweather, and Santonio Thomas), seems to be in a somber and melancholy mood. In fact, I have not seen this area affected in such a way over a sports figure since the untimely passing of University of Maryland basketball great, Len Bias. The outpouring of love and the signs of admiration for Sean in this area have been amazing. I live near FedEx field and fan tributes and memorials have been erected there, as well in Ashburn, VA (Redskins Park). Fans in this area have shown how much they had grown to love and respect Sean for his unrelenting prowess on the football field.
Unfortunately, however, many local media outlets, rather than focusing solely on the tragedy of this event, have also tried to paint a picture of Sean as an out of control pro athlete, who was just beginning to get his life together. However, being a life long UM fan and having watched Taylor since his days at UM, I happen to disagree with that assessment. What I will always remember about Sean Taylor is that while at UM he was a model citizen and student athlete whose spectacular play helped us to what should’ve been 2 consecutive National Championships (I’ll never give Ohio State credit). I never recall Sean getting in any trouble whatsoever during his time at UM. In fact, I don’t recall him having any issues at all until he made it to the NFL and money was introduced into the equation. Money always changes things; for a young, black male to finally have that kind of money, you can understand why the late Notorious B.I.G. once said, “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” Was Sean was perfect? No. Did he make some youthful mistakes (DUI, spitting at an opposing player, taking law into his own hands with stolen ATVs)? Sure he did, but how many of us haven’t? “Let him without sin cast the first stone!” Despite the negative media, I don’t believe any of those things will be what Sean is remembered for, nor will those things define the legacy that he has left.
What I will remember about Sean Taylor is that he will always and forever be one of the best to wear that orange, green, and white. I will remember him as an NFL star that was just beginning to realize his potential not only as an NFL superstar, but as a responsible person and a respectable man. He was a man who was accepting his role and responsibilities as a father and future husband before being taken away by a senseless act of violence. And for what? This wasn’t a case of a man who had gone out partying and was a targeted by jealous onlooker because of who he was, resulting in an altercation that lead to an unfortunate ending; but, this was the case of a man who was in his home doing what he was supposed to do: taking care of his family. That’s what I’ll always remember him for!
I sincerely thank Manny for this time to speak, and I do not want to use this brief moment in time to go on a social diatribe on the societal ills that affect Black America; however, I would feel remiss as a black male if I didn’t ask the following question to our young black brothers: When are we going to stop destroying one another? When are we as black men going to wake up? Homicide is the leading cause of death for black males between the ages of 18-24, and, unfortunately, just as with Bryan Pata last year, Sean Taylor now has to be added to that senseless and horrifying statistic.
Unfortunate as that may be, let us not dwell on the negative. Let’s remember Sean for what he truly was: a great teammate, a great friend, a great son, a great father, and a great person. By all accounts, Sean Taylor was on his way to not only becoming a superstar in the NFL, but also a superstar in the game of life. It is unfortunate that we will never get to see how truly bright his star would have shown.
Rest in peace #26. The Legion will never forget you, and your legacy as a true Hurricane will live on forever. We love you, Bro.
Damn…When will it end?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bryce Gaylor is a 34-year old web applications developer from Bowie, MD. "I'm married (wife Maria) with no kids. I was born in Tennessee, but moved to Hollywood, FL when my parents divorced. During my high school years, my family would relocate again to the Washington, D.C. metro area, where I currently reside. I attended Bowie State Univ. (MD) but graduated from U of Maryland-University College. I have a BS in Computer Studies and am working on a dual master’s degree (IT/MBA). I’ve been a Canes fan since I was 8 yrs old. Go Canes!"