Washington Commanders Criticized for 'Embarrassing' Sean Taylor Memorial

Fans attends the unveiling of the Sean Taylor Memorial, before the start of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Commanders, in Landover, Md. On the 15th anniversary of the death of Taylor, ever Commander player will wear a No. 21 decal on their helmet Falcons Commanders Football, Landover, United States - 27 Nov 2022
Fans attends the unveiling of the Sean Taylor Memorial, before the start of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Commanders, in Landover, Md. On the 15th anniversary of the death of Taylor, ever Commander player will wear a No. 21 decal on their helmet Falcons Commanders Football, Landover, United States - 27 Nov 2022

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The Washington Commanders hosted a memorial unveiling to honor late star player Sean Taylor, but NFL fans and media members were underwhelmed with the display.

On Sunday, the NFL team hosted a ceremony to unveil the memorial dedicated to former safety Taylor, who was shot and killed during an attempted robbery in 2007, according to SI.com.

The memorial featured Taylor's Commander uniform in a glass case, which is now displayed on the main concourse at FedEx Field.

SI reported that the Commanders never promised "a traditional statue" would be part of the memorial.

Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on November 27, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on November 27, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

Greg Fiume/Getty

However, fans were disappointed by the display after the team promised the memorial would include a "statue" of Taylor. One Twitter user replied to the team's post, "Please tell me how that looks like a statue," while another called the display "embarrassing."

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Multiple NFL personalities and media shared criticism of the Commanders' efforts after the unveiling. Jemele Hill compared the memorial to "a display you'd see in a Nike store" and said it looks "like no thought or care was put into preserving the legacy of one of their most impactful and beloved players."

And former Commanders quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted: "Sean Taylor Deserved a Statue."

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Many critics held gripes specifically with the apparel choice for Taylor's display, which included mismatched brands.

Some fans scolded the team for putting soccer cleats on Taylor's feet, but the late athlete's daughter, Jackie Taylor, clarified the motive behind the footwear.

Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on November 27, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.
Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on November 27, 2022 in Landover, Maryland.

Greg Fiume/Getty

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Jackie told Sharla McBride that the footwear is her favorite part of the display because her father "chose to" wear soccer cleats and that they were "something that was super special to" her father.

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Taylor, a Florida native, died at age 24 in November 2007, after he was shot in the leg by a burglar in his Miami home while defending his family. Although Taylor was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, he died the next morning of massive blood loss from a severed femoral artery.

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The athlete was Washington's first-round pick as the fifth pick overall in the 2004 NFL draft. Taylor played all four seasons of his NFL career with the team, leading them to their first playoff win in six years. In 2007, he was honored posthumously by the NFL, when he was named a 2nd team All-Pro selection before being inducted as only the 43rd member of the Washington Ring of Fame.