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The Washington Football Team said that plans to retire the late Sean Taylor's jersey have been in the works for weeks. Taylor's brother said he only found out about those plans a few days ago.
Gabe Taylor, a football player at Rice, joined 106.7 FM The Fan on Friday afternoon to talk about his brother's ceremony this Sunday at halftime of the Football Team's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The big news? The younger Taylor said he only heard about the team's plans to honor his older brother this week
"No, I have not heard about it for a while," Gabe Taylor told the show. "I found out probably, I'll say like four days ago."
Some believe the Football Team might be using the event as a distraction of sorts. The franchise has been investigated for workplace misconduct in an extensive inquiry into the club's actions over several years. That investigation led to some of the more than 600,000 emails leaked to the media.
The bombshell was unrelated to the WFT investigation. It revealed insensitive and hateful messages from former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who was compelled to suddenly resign from his position.
Many of the emails were sent to former Washington team president/general manager Bruce Allen. But no correspondence from Washington owner Daniel Snyder has yet been released, despite the NFLPA demanding that the full spate of electronic messages be released.
It has been a bad few weeks for the franchise. Sunday's ceremony, no doubt, will be a special moment for the team and its faithful. But between the awkward announcement of the rare jersey retirement and the later apology sent by the club, there's a strange air floating above this story.
Could the Sean Taylor ceremony really have been planned as a distraction?
Taylor is revered by the franchise's fans despite playing only 55 regular-season games in the NFL over four seasons. His life came to a shocking end in 2007 when a gunman broke into Taylor's Miami house and shot him during the course of a robbery. Taylor died from the gunshot wound the following day.
Eric Rivera, who was convicted in Taylor's shooting, was given a 57-year prison sentence in 2014.
But this is only the third jersey the franchise has retired, following Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49). Mitchell's jersey retirement happened earlier this season.
On Thursday, the Washington Football Team apologized for the communication confusion leading up to the announcement of Taylor's jersey retirement, saying that Sunday's tribute has been in the works "for months."
If it has, it appears it was news to Taylor's family.
"I don't really want to say anything about the short timing of it," Gabe said.
Gabe Taylor is a safety like his older brother, and he called into the radio show as he and his Rice teammates were traveling to a game Saturday at UTSA. Gabe will fly to D.C. after his game, either Saturday night or Sunday morning, he said, to attend the ceremony at FedEx Field.
He knows how much his older brother means to the franchise's fans and can't wait to experience the moment.
"I can say my brother's jersey is retired in the NFL," he proudly boasted, as well he should.
But what if the event is being used as a shiny object to deflect attention away from a possible scandal?
Gabe Taylor clearly didn't want to talk about that part, but if it's true, it's somehow an even worse look for a franchise that has seemingly been cloaked in controversy and shame since Snyder bought the team more than two decades ago.