Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Life for defender not Taylor-made

It's a perfect nightmare, what happened to Sean Taylor.

Having someone break into your home and attack you is an
unimaginable terror for most, and for good reason. Where are we safe, if not at

I can't imagine there is a much worse feeling in the world
than not feeling safe in one's abode.

Except of course, for grieving the loss of a loved one whose
life was stolen away.

All of this almost gives Sean Taylor's story a tragic
ending. But not quite.

The fact is, Sean Taylor got in and caused enough trouble in
his life that it's very difficult not to look at his death cynically, to not
feel that he wasn't in some way at fault, or partially responsible for what
happened to him.


And that is the real tragedy here, that Taylor's gruesome
death is so difficult to truly and deeply feel sorry for. I'm guilty (and feel
guilty for it), and so are you.

Taylor makes for a poor martyr. He was charged with
aggravated assault with a firearm and battery, and accused of pistol-whipping a
man. He had drawn numerous fines in the NFL for dangerous behavior and last
year was caught spitting on an opponent.

Miami Herald columnist Dan LeBatard noted that other
University of Miami NFL alumni — not exactly the calmest crowd — were sometimes
taken aback by Taylor's actions. Having Hurricanes say you are a little too
wild is like having Quentin Tarantino say your movie is a little too violent.

But a very different view is found in how people speak of
him after his death. Anyone who has been quoted talking about Taylor's death
has mentioned how he had turned his life completely around.

"It's hard to expect a man to grow up overnight, but ever
since he had his child, it was like a new Sean, and everybody around here knew
it," Redskins and former Miami running back Clinton Portis told reporters.

Another Hurricane, the Giants' Jeremy Shockey, echoed those

"He was kind of a wild child, like myself," Shockey told The
Associated Press. "But life changed for Sean after he had his baby girl.
Fatherhood really changed him. He grew up and matured."

The fact that so many have pointed out that Taylor had
changed, and wasn't the same person anymore, speaks volumes about what his life
was like before. It wasn't good.

That’s not to say he didn't change. I believe wholeheartedly
that Taylor tried to turn over a new leaf with the birth of his daughter. Who

But I also believe Arizona Cardinal Antrel Rolle, another
former Miami teammate, who refuses to believe that Taylor's death was random at
all. Rolle speculated that Taylor had made many enemies in the past.

When you decide to change your life, your future can change,
but not your past.

However, it shouldn't really matter whether Taylor was
targeted or was a random victim; the circumstances in which he died, being shot
in his home by intruders with his fiancee and child nearby, are ghastly

The problem is that it does matter.

If the same thing were to have happened to, say, Mike Tyson,
Dennis Rodman or John Rocker, the feeling would be the same — this lingering
feeling that maybe the victim brought their fate upon themselves.

If it were Peyton Manning, LeBron James or Dwyane Wade,
though, that feeling wouldn't be there.

That is what is most sad about Taylor's death. A man who had
changed his life for the better can't be remembered — except by those closest
to him — for being the person that he was when he died, but rather for how he


Dave McGrath is a
former Herald sports editor, and a reporter and Green Bay Packers beat writer
for the Shawano (Wis.) Leader. If you'd rather he have written about Bob
Knight's latest foray into YouTube, you can reach him at

[email protected].

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