I normally like Jason Whitlock. I read him regularly and have followed his from ESPN to AOL to Fox Sports along with the occasional KC Star column. But he's dead wrong just like Wilbon, Cowherd, Mike and Mad Dog, and just about every other national media voice out there:
No disrespect to Taylor, but he controlled the way he would be remembered by the way he lived. His immature, undisciplined behavior with his employer, his run-ins with law enforcement, which included allegedly threatening a man with a loaded gun, and the fact a vehicle he owned was once sprayed with bullets are all pertinent details when you've been murdered.You know what, Whitlock? He did what he could to control how people saw him, especially the past 2 seasons. And you and everyone else just want to ignore it. You don't care what coaches and teammates have said about Sean. You don't care what Sean actually did the past 2 seasons. You don't care that the guy who accused Taylor of threatening him with a gun was a convicted criminal who had stolen Taylor's ATVs (and later caught again with another stolen ATV) and was the one who sprayed Taylor's vehicle with bullets. You don't care the case was thrown out, that Taylor's other brush with the law was a DUI charge that was thrown out by the judge because there was video evidence of Taylor passing his field sobriety test and there was no cause for the arrest. You don't care that Taylor's behavior with his employer was from his first full year in the league and that in the 2 and a half years after that he had matured greatly and was glowingly praised by his coaches. You don't care that Taylor went to every chapel service, that he and the team chaplain were incredibly close. None of you care that Taylor turned his life around and was doing everything RIGHT. Again, I'm beating this into the ground: Taylor's actions, choices, and decisions over the past 18 months should be lauded and praised. He should be trumpeted by the media for maturing, changing his life, doing what is right. But no, no one cares about that, no one cares to look at what Taylor did to "control how he was remembered" because that's the true tragedy in the story. Sean Taylor turned his life around, matured as a person and a football player. He cleaned up his act, did and said all the right things, and became a model teammate and citizen. He didn't have a gun in his house (would have violated his probation) and defended his fiancee and 18 month old daughter at night from an unknown attacker(s). What has he actually done wrong that anyone knows about? If it turns out later he had some shady dealings that somehow led to this then fine, discuss it all then. But as it stands right now and with everything the police are saying, Sean Taylor is 100% victim and everything he did is honorable and frankly heroic.
Taylor controlled how he would be remembered with his actions. And all anyone who knew him, which doesn't include Whitlock, Wilbon, Shapiro, Shrutebag, Mike & Mad Dog, or anyone else who has been drumming up the "This isn't shocking/he's a thug/he had it coming" story lines, all anyone who knew him has to say about him is he was a great person, a changed person, someone making all the right choices. That's an uplifting, admirable story that needs telling. But as Tony K said, "We sports writers are cynical and have to be." Says who?