Garrett takes an interesting look at the death of Sean Taylor

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The recent death of NFL Pro Bowl safety Sean Taylor is tragic and sickening. The fact that this man was murdered in his own house is definitely a scary occurrence. After listening to the information that has came out about the situation, it looks to me that this wasn’t just a burglary attempt gone awry. I think that a hit may have been put on Taylor, when you consider the fact that when the killer came into Taylor’s house and went straight to the bedroom. Another telling sign is that the house was broken into eight days earlier, and a knife was left on Taylor’s pillow. That is a clear sign that harm being done to Taylor was imminent. Security precautions should have been taken immediately.

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This is also sad because a large amount of kids looked at Sean Taylor as the prototype football player as to who they wanted to model their game after. When I was in high school, the Miami Hurricanes were the premier program in all of college football, and many of my teammates, as well as players at other schools that I knew loved the players on the Hurricanes.Â

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Whether it was Kellen Winslow II, Willis McGahee, or Ed Reed, there was a deep interest for the players on the Hurricanes, but there was no question that most popular player of that Miami era was Sean Taylor. The swagger that Taylor had on the field and his style of play was enticing to young football players. Every defensive back on my team wanted to be Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson, or Sean Taylor. I wasn’t a Miami fan, but I was a huge Sean Taylor fan myself. When Taylor entered the NFL Draft after his junior season, I made it a goal of mine to get his jersey no matter what team he was drafted by. I bothered my father everyday until he gave in.

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Some of the reaction to the death has bothered me though. After reading many message boards, I have seen that there are many people that aren’t sympathetic to this situation. Many people labeled him as a thug, and said that this was bound to happen because of his “checkered” past. He was arrested for pistol whipping someone who tried to steal his ATV. Granted, I’m not so sure that he needed the pistol, but fighting isn’t something that warrants death, especially when you are fighting for one of your possessions. He was also arrested on drunken driving charges. That is not a good indication that the man was a thug. That is a characteristic that not only young black athletes are often too quickly characterized, but black males in general. Even players that have had no run-ins with the law are still grouped into that category by many people. If a white athlete was killed in the same fashion, there would be no discussion about that player being a thug.Â

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This wasn’t a Pac Man Jones situation where a player was out late at a club with a cast of shady characters (himself included). He was at home sleeping with his family, in a good neighborhood.   Professional athletes can be the targets of crimes just because of their stature. This past July, former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker was robbed at gunpoint in his own home in Chicago. The offender made off with a vehicle, cash, and jewelry. Just a few weeks after that incident, New York Knicks center Eddy Curry and his family was robbed at gunpoint in Curry’s Chicago home. Three perpetrators restrained Curry and his family with duct tape before leaving the home with jewelry and $10,000.Â

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Detroit Pistons’ guard Ronald Murray was at a nightclub in April, and was followed to his Troy, MI home after he left. The night ended with shots being fired into Murray’s house. He wasn’t hurt in the incident.Â

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All three of these situations didn’t receive as much press as they should have. I can’t help but to think that it would be more of an uproar if three white players were facing life or death situations. There is still a stigma that follows black athletes, that suggest that they can’t handle having large amounts of cash, and these occurrences are just a result of the lifestyle that they live.Â

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Envy is something that can ultimately become dangerous. When someone comes out of the inner city and succeeds, there are people that still live there that may become jealous. The jealousy that these people posses motivates them to want to see the successful person torn down in any way, shape, or form. These people are also known as “haters”  They see a successful person with money, and they look at it as an opportunity to trash that person verbally or hurt that person physically. In some cases, robberies do happen, but in other instances shots may be fired. It is a senseless way to look at things from the offender’s perspective, but it is a reality. Because of this harsh realization, a young woman has to live her life raising a daughter who probably will never remember her father.