Sean Taylor, age 24, starting Free Safety for the Washington Redskins football team, died this AM from complications from a gunshot wound suffered during a break-in at his home.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the Taylor family. I cannot pretend to know what you are feeling, and only hope the peace that knows no understanding or limits will come to you in time. The loss of a young one, and in such a senseless manner, saddens me.
But as I flitted about the internet and read comment posted on blogs and news stories, I was stunned by how many felt the need to post comments that were suspicious of the circumstances, or urging others not to idolize the dead player, or asked why this case of a violent death deserved such special attention. Not an iota of sympathy for grieving parents and an orphaned child.
Then there were those who offered up some variation on “tragic, but not surprising.” Leonard Shapiro’s poison pen letter offered up his words and the self righteous omniscience of Michael Wilbon with the title “Taylor’s Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising“.
I think there is time enough to hash over Sean Taylor’s life and what he did wrong and what he did right. There is enough time investigate the crime and its repercussions later. And all those who have anything to offer but sympathy…that is their right. But are we so lacking in decency that we have to begin to pile on immediately and share our schadenfreude and suspicions with the world in general and the Taylor family in particular?
I urge everyone who has the urge to post with poison pen or self-righteous tone to step back and listen to the better angels of your nature. There is a time to every purpose under heaven, and now is the time for respect. Respect for the family, respect for those who are hurting, and respect for the memory of Sean Taylor.
And, perhaps, consider that we will always remember Brother Taylor as being agile, strong, and brave. He will never wither, never grow old nor grey. But above all, this is a time for respect…and the words of A.E. Houseman
To An Athlete Dying Young
THE time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
To-day, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears:
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.