Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sean Taylor: Where There's Smoke...

I have to admit that when I first heard of the Sean Taylor shooting incident my immediate thoughts were of his history of off the field problems. I wondered if that past had followed him. I wondered if he still behaved like the thug that his checkered track record suggests.

I then thought, “Well what does it matter now? He’s gone.”

But it does matter. It matters to his friends, teammates and family.

It matters to his 18 month-old daughter.

It matters because Taylor’s death must have meaning and it must teach us all a lesson.

But I wonder if it will. I wonder if we’ll all settle back into our regular routine and forget Sean Taylor in the not too distant future. Will his death be no more than another tragic statistic – another brutal reminder of the violence that still plagues American cities?

I wouldn’t dare profess that I understand our country’s hip-hop culture. I’ve never tried primarily because I despise the violence seemingly endorsed by the lyrics in the music. I despise the hatred and the language splattered all over its rhythms. I think it’s ugly.

I don’t know if there’s a correlation between the “mature” content of that music and violence in inner city communities. I don’t know if the disrespectful nature of its message leads to an undermining of authority figures. But I think it’s safe to say that it certainly doesn’t inspire role model behavior.

We’ve all heard that Sean Taylor had turned the corner. We’ve heard that he had matured and those who knew him best believed that he had changed for the better influenced in no small part by his little girl.

Now that little girl has no Daddy. She has no father figure in her life, at least for now and that could affect not only her but also her children and children’s children. Generations of Taylors might be affected by one senseless act of violence.

At this time, we don’t know for sure what went down in Sean Taylor’s Florida home. But I think his good friend and former teammate Antrel Rolle has an idea.

"This was not the first incident," Rolle said. "They've been targeting him for three years now."He really didn't say too much [about the targeting] but I know he lived his life pretty much scared every day of his life when he was down in Miami because those people were targeting him. At least, he's got peace now."

Could this robbery/shooting just be a coincidence?

Sure.

But where there’s smoke…

Jason Whitlock from the Kansas City Star nailed it yesterday. If you haven't read it yet, it’s worth the read.

Taylor's death a grim reminder for us all

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