by DANTE EVANS
The graffiti mural of former Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor, was restored this past week. The mural had been defaced by someone protesting the government and promoting their political blog. The mural sits alongside the pavement beside the tracks at the Brookland-CUA Metro Station in Washington, D.C.
The mural was erected in 2007, by an artist named CERT, after the murder of Sean Taylor in November of that same year. According to the Washington Post, the artist credited for restoring the piece tagged their names as Ser, Nehi, Kuthe, and Cert. There were also flowers left in front of the mural.
Sean Taylor had a very short stint with the Redskins, being drafted by the franchise in 2004, and ultimately playing his last game in 2007 before his untimely death. Though his time in the burgundy and gold was short, his life story and play on the field made an impact on ones who watched him and those who knew him personally.
In NFL Network’s series “A Football Life,” current and former NFL players and coaches spoke on the life of Sean Taylor in the episode dedicated to him.
“God made certain people to play football, he was one of them,” said former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
Gibbs coached Taylor each of his three-and-a-half seasons in the NFL.
Many members of the media characterized Taylor as a thug, hoodlum, and other negative attributes due to the background he came from and the friends he hung with while playing in the league. Taylor grew up in a tough Miami neighborhood, where he befriended individuals who led troublesome lives. Taylor never stopped hanging with those friends, and to the media, by association was labeled a thug. Ryan Clark is quoted best in “A Football Life” on how Taylor was criticized by the media:
“He was never one of those guys to be like, ‘What you’re reporting about me or the stories you hear are wrong – here’s what really happened.’ And so from the outside world, when you hear those things you perceive them as the truth. The misconception people have is that OK, we hear these things about him living recklessly off the field and we believe them because we watch him play football. And when he plays football, he’s reckless. And so people thought that’s who he was but it wasn’t.”
Redskins fans inside and outside of the beltway were very upset with the defacing the mural dedicated to one of the most beloved and popular players in the franchise’s history.
“When I saw that someone vandalized the mural, it sort of upset me. Even though that mural is just graffiti itself, it stands for much more. It resembles how much of an impact that Sean Taylor had not just on his entire fan base, but also to those who he and his story had touched,” Redskins fan Chase Rosenquist from Milford, Delaware said.
Taylor was a staple of the two lone playoff teams for the franchise in the 2000s. In the seasons he played in Washington, he accumulated 299 tackles, 12 interceptions, and eight forced fumbles. Taylor was also known for his hard hits, his most notable one coming in the 2006 Pro Bowl. Video of that hit is linked, and the user who uploaded the video, 2pac4eva, titled it very accurately. “Sean Taylor Da Beast.”
“Sean Taylor is the one who made me fall in love with the Redskins,” said Chase Parker, Redskins fan from Lexington, Virginia. “The way he hit and played the game with reckless abandon made me fall in love with the game.”
After his passing in November of 2007, the Redskins honored Taylor in many ways. In the game following Taylor’s death, as the defense came onto the field, the Redskins played their first snap with only eleven players. The one empty spot? Safety, the position Taylor dominated in.
Outside of the Redskins home stadium, FedEx Field, lies a patch a grass with a painted 21 for the number Sean Taylor wore as a Redskin. He has also been inducted into the Ring of Fame at FedEx Field and was also voted one of the 80 Greatest Redskins Players of All-Time.
Taylor’s legacy still lives on in the D.C. metro area and fans young and old can recall or have heard memories of the time he played in Washington. He will forever be a Washington Redskin.