Washington Football Team apologizes for bizarre last-minute announcement of Sean Taylor jersey retirement

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The Washington Football Team apologized Thursday for a perfectly WFT incident: One that made it impossible to tell whether the franchise was being incompetent or malicious. Washington has led the league in both categories under owner Dan Snyder. When the Team announced Thursday that it was retiring Sean Taylor’s jersey at Sunday’s game, on suspiciously short notice, it appeared that it was trying to deflect attention from the various scandals radiating from former team president Bruce Allen’s inbox. (Because it’s Washington, you might forget that the WFT also has its head trainer on leave amid a federal investigation into his distribution of prescription drugs.)

The timing was widely questioned, as Washington has only retired two jersey numbers in franchise history. But it appears that the WFT wasn’t using a beloved and dead player as a shield. Instead, they were just failing to honor him properly. Former NFL defensive back and ESPN personality Ryan Clark said that a WFT executive told him weeks ago that there were plans with Taylor’s family to recognize the late safety this weekend.

The team and its president apologized Thursday. “We have been planning this weekend’s tribute to Sean Taylor since before the start of the season in partnership with Sean Taylor’s family and as part of our alumni weekend activities,” the team said in a statement. “We apologize to fans who would have liked more notice and will continue to share with fans ways we will be celebrating Sean Taylor’s legacy over the next month.”

Taylor is arguably the only player in the bleak Snyder era who ever became truly beloved by fans. Widely considered one of the best safeties in the NFL, he was murdered in a November 2007 home invasion, midway through his fourth season in the league.

“We wanted to do something long overdue by retiring players’ numbers,” team president Jason Wright wrote in his own apology. “Months ago we planned for Bobby Mitchell and Sean Taylor to be the first two. Seeing the reaction, I’m very sorry that the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had.”

Allen’s emails currently rocking the NFL were discovered in two places, neither of which is flattering to the franchise. First, the NFL found them in its investigation of the endemic workplace sexual harassment in Washington. Second, Snyder himself filed them as exhibits in a lawsuit against Allen, as part of his broader legal action about stories that tied him to sex trafficker and pedophile Jeffrey Epstein without any evidence.

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