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Wright On

Florida Times-Union reporter Michael C. Wright covers the ins and outs of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In this blog, he'll share behind-the-scenes anecdotes not published within the pages of the T-U, in addition to offering up incessant ramblings about nothing such as road trips, crummy hotels and not-so-delicious press box food. Perhaps he'll even delve into serious discussions about NFL issues. So ask questions, participate in conversations, or just learn more about the Jags.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sean Taylor news tragic

News of Sean Taylor's death hit this morning and I must say, it's very tragic.

Having covered him for two years in Washington (I covered the Redskins before coming here), I was especially shocked. To me, Taylor was a very sensitive, yet misunderstood guy. I remember a few of our interactions and for the most part, he was accomodating, contrary to what some media reports have said.

What do you guys think about his death? Homicide is the leading cause of death for black men 15 to 24 and Taylor was 24. My friend and colleague, Jemele Hill of ESPN.com wrote a pretty spot-on column about Taylor's death: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hill/071127

I must say that other than former Dallas safety Darren Woodson, Taylor was the most talented safety I've ever covered. Physically, the guy was a beast. Tell me what you guys think.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael,

It's tragic -- unfortunately, this is a microcosim of what society is like today -- people are self-centered even to the point where they don't care about life or taking one. The fact that Sean was talented and was on the public stage only heightens the awareness that violent crime creates a lasting impression. I thought your blog was contrite but well spoken, you should write more of them.

December 1, 2007 at 5:42 AM  
Blogger Michael C. Wright said...

I appreciate the kind words.

What eats at me most is the fact that it takes something like this - a tragedy reported nationally - for people to see something that has been a problem in the black community and society at large for a while now.

You hit the nail right on the head in mentioning that the value of life is no longer what it once was. Even sadder, is it appears that even the criminals don't seem to care about their OWN lives and futures. What happened to people being afraid to go to jail? What happened to young people controlling their actions to ensure brighter futures?

I remember getting in trouble a few times for stupid things and thinking, "My folks are gonna kill me!" A lot of the young people today don't even seem to be worried about the prospect of serving prison time which is very troubling to me.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy (a guy I admire quite a bit) had some interesting things to say about Taylor's situation and violence as a whole when we spoke to him on Wednesday. He also spoke about society's disregard for human life. Here's a partial transcript of the conversation:

1. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE DEATH OF SEAN TAYLOR?

Dungy: "It's a tough situation; it’s very sad. I think the message is to the whole country, not to the football world necessarily. We have this situation where we take life so frivolously and you see it over and over. In any major city, the newspapers would be filled with stories like this. We hear about it on a national level because it's an NFL player but it happens a lot and I know it happens too much in Indianapolis and that's probably the message to our young people that life is precious and you have to protect your own life but also I think we as a country need to be more, I'm not sure what the word is, but more thoughtful of life itself and other people's lives and other people's rights. We're heading in the wrong direction as a country that way."

2. DO YOU SEE THIS AS AN INNER-CITY PROBLEM OR A CULTURAL PROBLEM?

"I think it's more of a cultural problem in the United States as a whole. I don't think we value life, especially our young people, as much as we did a generation ago or two generations ago. You see it and somehow we have to get the message across to people that taking a life, losing a life, giving up a life voluntarily, it's not the way it should be."

3. DID YOU SPEAK TO YOUR PLAYERS ABOUT THIS?

"I talked to them a little bit. I've talked to my children about it. I've talked to groups that I come in contact with, high school, junior high, elementary school groups that I visit, but I think it's a problem we have in this country right now. Just culturally we've made life a little bit cheap."

4. WHAT DO YOU TELL YOUR PLAYERS ABOUT OWNING GUNS?

"I'm not a big gun person myself and I know that we talk about this every year, guys feeling the need to protect themselves and there is going to be one school of thought where it says Sean Taylor needed protection and that's why you have to carry guns. I guess I'm old school and I just think guns create problems no matter who has them. You just have to be careful and know there is no amount of protection that you can have that's going to protect you all the time, no matter how many weapons you have. So it's more, I think, lifestyle changes and philosophical changes and that's what we have to get across to the country where we can make it safe for everybody."

5. HOW DO YOU GET ACROSS THAT MESSAGE?
"I don’t know but maybe in some strange way these kinds of things will put a light on it and if there is any one good thing that comes out of this maybe we’ll get some young people thinking about how tragic it is and, not just an NFL player, but when anybody dies at 24 years old from a violent whatever this situation was, robbery, homicide, whatever, that it’s just such a waste and if we can change a few people’s thinking because it happened in a very public setting and it’s written about for a few days, maybe that’ll help."

6. IS THIS TOUGH FOR YOU PERSONALLY BECAUSE OF WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED?
"I think I’m probably more in tuned with it than a lot of people are but I’ve talked to a lot of parents in the same situation that have lost kids through accidents, through these types of situations and it’s painful no matter how you lose your child. I know what Mr. Taylor is going through and it’s not a good feeling."

December 2, 2007 at 12:03 AM  

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