Taylor Was a Thug, The Media Said So

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Sarah Schorno (who happens to be an outstanding writer … for a girl) wrote a great piece yesterday that completed echoed my thoughts about the media’s handling of the Taylor tragedy. For whatever reason, they (meaning the media), seem to think that Taylor’s past transgressions are the reason why someone broke into his home and shot him to death.

“As Taylor’s death is investigated by authorities in the coming weeks, we will know more about the facts surrounding his shooting, but it is clear that the media has already made their opinion known: Sean Taylor was a troubled athlete with a history of gun-related legal issues who was shot in his home. …

But don’t worry about the media. Apparently they feel the thug had it coming.”

I once received a citation for underage drinking when I was 20. If I was killed by a drunk driver tomorrow, would it somehow be less surprising because I had an alcohol-related charge in my past? Would news stories of the incident bring up the fact that I had an underage drinking charge five years ago?

Of course not. And this is absolutely no different. Sean Taylor being arrested over two years ago is in no way related to someone murdering him Monday morning.

But what made me want to puke more than anything I’ve read in print was ESPN’s “tribute” to Taylor on SportsCenter yesteday. Before highlighting the good he’s done, they not only brought up his criminal past, but also the number of 15-yard personal foul penalties he had and his monster hit on Brian Moorman in the Pro Bowl. They actually used Taylor legally hitting another player in a football game as an example of his troubled past.

I hope Bristol burns to the ground.

17 thoughts on “Taylor Was a Thug, The Media Said So”

  1. “I once received a citation for underage drinking when I was 20. ”

    Serial killer in the making.

    As for the ESPN stuff, I’m so glad I missed that. I probably would have beaten my TV with a brick. That’s just horseshit.

  2. Comcast sports showed a picture of Sean holding his daughter at Redskin park. I guess that is not sensational enough for the four letter word.

  3. The bottom line is that athletes face intense scrutiny from the media: good or bad. It’s the exact same thing many of us bloggers are doing the media about this same issue; scrutinizing the bits and pieces of their coverage.

    No one knows how it will turn out, but if an investigation reveals that he was into something illegal or bad, what credibility will be left for those who defended him so passionately?

  4. ScottVanPeltStyle-

    “The bottom line is that athletes face intense scrutiny from the media: good or bad.”

    But, at least in theory, not from the judicial system, which at least professes to treat all persons equally with a blind eye towards justice. Michael Wilbon’s prior criminal history has, as far as I can tell, ever been mentioned to impeach an article he wrote. But, while we’re on the subject, if I had to choose between 1) an article someone wrote and 2) a crime committed against someone, as a legitimate reason to investigate their criminal history, there is absolutely no question that 1) would subject a person to that kind of inquiry far more than 2). 1) is a positive act done by someone, and if I write a horrible article that slanders people or makes racist comments or whatever, I own it. That’s something I DID.

    When someone is murdered, that is something a person has done TO THEM. Even if Sean Taylor knows the assailants, even if they were retaliating against him for standing up for his property in an ATV incident 2 years ago, that merely makes them more twisted individuals. It doesn’t say anything about Sean Taylor. That Taylor had an incident with them two years ago would be part of the story, then, but neither his DUI, nor his spitting incident, nor his outstanding hit on Brian Moorman, nor an NFL fine, nor his “troubled background”, nor his “checkered past” would become part of the story of a murdered person. The incident would be relevant only because it helped bring the criminals to justice. Much in the same way that pointing out that Princess Diana was famouse helped contextualize allegations that she was killed in a car accident while fleeing paparrazi. But you can tell that story without recounting (with pictures) her prior run-ins with the paparazzi, yes?

    “No one knows how it will turn out, but if an investigation reveals that he was into something illegal or bad, what credibility will be left for those who defended him so passionately?”

    Well that’s been true of every person in history, eh? If I defend Scott Van Pelt Style and it turns out you molest children, I’ve made a mistake. However, I have no evidence that Scott Van Pelt Style molests children, so I’d defend your name without having to worry about it.

    But I don’t know you, nor have I ever read anything that convinces me that you don’t molest children.

    HOWEVER, I have read countless words from people close to Sean Taylor who swear that he was a good person, and a good father. I know that he went home to defend his family, a trait I find admirable, and was willing to die doing so. I know that he was not convicted of a felony in a previous aggravated assault charge, and thus, at least in the opinion of the state of Florida, isn’t a criminal. I know that he beat a DUI charge and a refusal to breathalize charge.

    What other evidence do you have besides his on-field behavior (which I also find endearing and tends me towards DEFENDING him further) that Sean Taylor has ever done anything illegal or bad, ever, in his entire life? Simple battery and simple assault, both misdemeanors? That he dealt with through mandated probation and had wiped from his record?

    And let’s flip the question back at you: To those many who decided to prematurely attribute Sean Taylor’s death to his own behavior, attitude, or questionable past, what is to be done about your credibility when it is revealed that he was just a man defending himself from criminals? Is your reputation similarly impugned if ours is currently on the line, pending facts that Sean Taylor somehow earned murder? What fact-pattern, exactly, would reveal such a thing? Do people who do “something illegal or bad” deserve to be bled to death in their own home?

    I’m asking.

  5. “If you were a pro athlete, you bet your ass that previous conviction would be brought up. Don’t be naive.”

    So, you’re saying if I was a pro athlete, my underage drinking charge would suddenly be relevant to a story about a drunk driver killing me?

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard since the last time Wilbon opened his mouth to say … anything.

    (All this “kill me” talk makes me sound like I have a death wish. I promise I don’t.)

  6. Not being a Skins fan living in the DC area has been interesting this week. I cannot escape the Sean Taylor talk that has been going on nonstop since this has happened. The problem being is that we don’t know much of anything right now, the story is completely different right now then it was yesterday.

    Folks have let their imaginations run wild with why this could have happened and want some kind of explanation as to why it did. They need some kind of closure, and since we don’t even have crubs of that we see this giant divide between he was a good person and this was a senseless act and he was a thug and this was his past coming back to haunt him.

    What happened, I don’t know. I’m not going to go out on a line and wager a guess either, we’ll know more when the police decide to tell us more. I will miss his style of play (my favorite player of all time is still Ronnie Lott and he reminded me of him) and what he brought to the game.

    Perhaps not taking a side one way or another till we know more isn’t a strong stance, but it is really the only one you can make when we don’t know what has really happened. All I can do is feel for the friends and family of Sean Taylor, and hope that there is a lesson somewhere in all of this.

  7. I have never been a big redskins fan, but my son is a die hard, true fan. So I have become invested in the team. I did not know Sean Taylor but I felt like I did, if that makes sense. I watched him every sunday for four years and counted on him to stop the big plays. This such an unbelievable act. I could not believe that he was shot and then that he died. I just knew that when I awoke the next day that he would be recovering. This is a sad thing. It is also sad that in some ways people think he got what he deserves. No one can judge anyone else. The only difference between Sean and American is that what he did was brought to light and what others do is still in the dark. We have all done things that we would not want people to know about, or are embarassed about. Where is the humanity. Please just pray for the world, Sean, his family, friends, love ones, and the Redskins.

  8. so if brett favre died of an overdose tomorrow, you would expect no one to bring up his past problems with pain pills?

    yes, it’s too bad that people have to bring up the past in this case, but athletes, like policians, are public figures and some have checkered pasts. many if not all of us don’t know the whole situation. i just don’t understand this whole “maturing” thing being brought up. so he has not gotten into trouble lately. does that qualify as maturing? isn’t that expected of people? and so if he is a great father… isn’t that expected? especially to his child out of wedlock.

    the most unfortunate thing about this situation besides the untimely death of someone who didn’t deserve it was that this happens to not surprise some. that is bad.

  9. I actually took notes on ESPN’s story to write a blog about it. It is probably the one that you are talking about. It was SOOOO bad and I was so pissed. I do not even cheer for the skins either. Chris, you just gave me inspiration to write it up tonite.

  10. When I die and people are talking about my life, I hope no one is discussing any charges that were proven in a court of law to be false against me.

  11. I cannot even watch the ESPN coverage of this. I’ve never been a real hater of the Worldwide Leader, but this really has turned me into one. It’s just astoundingly bad.

  12. “so if brett favre died of an overdose tomorrow, you would expect no one to bring up his past problems with pain pills?”

    Another irrelevant example. If Taylor had killed himself with a gun, maybe this Favre hypothetical would apply.

  13. da great white hype-

    “so he has not gotten into trouble lately.”

    No, the point is he hasn’t gotten into serious trouble… EVER. What is it you THINK he did that was so horrible in his “checkered past”? Do you have any idea why you think he’s such a bad guy?

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