Washington Football Team president Jason Wright penned an apology about the timing of Sean Taylor's jersey retirement, which is scheduled for when the franchise faces the Chiefs on Sunday.
"We thought that saving the news for a game week reveal was the best way to focus the message on Sean and his legacy," Wright wrote. "We didn't realize that so many of you wanted to make a trip to FedExField to be present for this moment -- a true lack of understanding of what you, the lifeblood of this franchise, needed to mourn our collective loss and celebrate Sean's legacy.
"As the guy who really wanted us to start honoring players better and differently -- in line with what they paid in the blood, sweat, and tears -- I'm angry and sad that we messed up your opportunity to honor Sean in person this weekend. I feel a pit in my stomach knowing how we have let so many of you down."
Not only did the announcement come days before the game, but it comes in wake of former employees telling the Washington Post that lawyers representing WFT offered a financial settlement in exchange for public silence concerning the alleged workplace sexual harassment multiple former female team employees endured.
Lisa Banks, the lead attorney for former female team employees, told them that in exchange for money, they would have to sign nondisclosure agreements as well as agree to no longer do press interviews or post on social media about their experiences.
In 2020, the Post released a report that included 15 former female employees of the team describing their experiences with sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the organization. Additionally, WFT cheerleaders alleged they were secretly videotaped while getting undressed, and later reached a settlement with the team.
Wright did not acknowledge the reported financial settlement offer, which came in wake of former Raiders coach Jon Gruden's scandal. The New York Times uncovered misogynistic, racist and anti-LGBTQ emails sent by Gruden from 2010 to '18, which were also collected and reviewed by the league while it investigated WFT.
Taylor is the third player in franchise history to have his jersey retired. He was arguably one of the NFL's best defensive backs during his four years with WFT before career and life were tragically cut short when he was murdered during a robbery attempt at his Florida home in November '07.
The pregame tribute video will be posted and the halftime ceremony will be live-streamed and available on WFT's social pages.
"Whenever I can, I will keep it 100 with you all and this is one of the moments where I need to do that. I again offer my sincere apology to the fans for the unacceptably short notice of this momentous event" Wright wrote. "I hope that each of you finds a moment of deep connection with Sean's legacy whether or not you can join us in the stadium on Sunday."
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