Washington Rolls out Embarrassing Sean Taylor Tribute but Does Get 1 Important Detail (Kind of) Right

The Washington Commanders just can’t seem to get it right. From the name-change process to the ongoing federal investigation of the organization, the Commanders (and specifically owner Dan Snyder) just seem to get it wrong in ways big and small over and over again. The most recent issue is how the team took something potentially great — a monument to late, great legend Sean Taylor — and messed it up as usual.

A botched Sean Taylor tribute

Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death.
Washington Commanders fans attend an unveiling of a memorial for Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his death | Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

In 2004, Washington drafted University of Miami safety Sean Taylor No. 5 overall. In his first season, he finished fourth in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting, and in 2006 he made his first Pro Bowl.

The following season, on his way to Pro Bowl No. 2 and a second-team All-Pro nod, tragedy struck. Between Weeks 10 and 11 of the 2007 season, Taylor was the victim of a home invasion, and the intruders shot him in the leg. Due to loss of blood, the NFL star dies the next day.

The Commanders franchise has tried tributes to Taylor in the past, with dubious results. In 2021, the club rushed an announcement of a jersey retirement ceremony to the safety after the NFL launched an investigation into a hostile workplace culture within the organization.

Then, during the ceremony itself, the team placed VIPs inside the roped-off “21” painted on the field, including Patrick Mahomes’ (now) wife Brittany and brother Jackson, who filmed a Tik Tok video dancing on the retired number.

The latest installment of the botched Sean Taylor tribute came in Week 12 of the 2022 NFL season after the Commanders announced they’d unveil a monument to their late star on the 15th anniversary of his death.

While many expected a statue of Taylor, what they got is what many are calling a “mannequin.” It is a wireframe dressed up in a Redskins helmet, Nike jersey, Reebok pants, and Adidas soccer cleats.

The tribute deservedly drew the ire of many on social media as the Commanders continued to botch the execution of Taylor tributes. However, among the seemingly thrown-together “monument” was one little-known detail about Taylor that his family did like.

The Commanders did get one detail (kind of) right

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While the Sean Taylor “mannequin” looked like a hastily thrown-together tribute with mix-and-match jersey elements, there was one detail that stood out to the former safety’s family.

Many social media users and media types made fun of the fact that the Taylor memorial has Adidas soccer cleats, but that was a pertinent detail.

When asked about her favorite part of the remembrance, Taylor’s daughter said, “I’d probably say the soccer cleats. That was super special to him and something he chose to do.”

While the soccer cleats were a thing for Sean Taylor, they were usually Nike “Total 90” cleats, not Adidas, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Shalise Manza Young. The columnist also notes that the Reebok pants are correct for the period Taylor played, but the jersey isn’t.

Also, Taylor was known for meticulously taping up his facemask on many game days, and even that detail isn’t part of the memorial. So, while the soccer cleats piece is cool, the Washington Commanders missed the boat in so many other ways it hardly matters.