Last fall, while dealing with bad press from leaked emails in the wake of their franchise’s whole deal, Washington’s football team announced a special event: The team would be retiring Sean Taylor’s jersey during a game it would lose to the Chiefs 31–13. At the time, the football press (and Defector EIC Tom Ley) noted that the jersey-retirement seemed to just be tacked on to a general ceremony honoring alums from various teams. In fact, the family of Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes was set up in a sideline section right on top of where Taylor’s number was painted. Washington was leading at halftime, at least.
“Did Dan Snyder and the WFT plan all of this at the last minute in a gross attempt to capitalize on Taylor’s enduring popularity with the fans, and then lie about it later, or was this whole thing actually in the works for weeks and possibly months, and this is the best they could do?” Ley asked in October 2021. “It’s hard to say which answer would make the team look worse.”
Well! It has now been over a year since Taylor’s jersey retirement. Washington’s football team now has a nickname. And, exactly one year ago, the team now known as the Commanders announced that the “Sean Taylor Memorial Project” would begin April 1. And today, 15 years after the Washington safety was killed in his home by burglars, the team would unveil “a physical memorial” to Taylor. Surely, the team would be able to properly honor Taylor this time—especially after team president Jason Wright said that “we royally F’d up the Sean Taylor jersey retirement.”
Note that the Commanders never said it would be a statue, even if several media outlets called it one in their headlines. “Washington Commanders to reveal Sean Taylor memorial installation in honor of the 15th anniversary of his passing during the team's Week 12 matchup,” the team wrote in a brief headline on its website five days ago. It is a wire-frame humanesque figure wearing a No. 21 jersey. The cleats appear to be Adidas World Cup soccer cleats. The case around it makes it look like it’s from a mall sneaker store display. Yeah—it’s a mannequin. That thing comes to life at night and has noisy sex parties in a department store.
Fortunately, the Commanders didn’t totally bottle it—a mural near the memorial is significantly better and more heartfelt than the Seannequin. But the main display sure does look like it was done in a week, not a year.