Robert Griffin III on Commanders' Sean Taylor memorial: 'He deserves better than that'




The Washington Commanders paid tribute to former star safety Sean Taylor on Sunday, but the glass-enclosed memorial unveiled at FedExField sparked an unexpected storm of controversy for a player so universally beloved by the team's fanbase.

The primary ctiticism from fans and many media members was the memorial's impersonal display of mismatched uniform components on a simple wire frame representing Taylor.

Taylor, the fifth overall pick in the 2004 draft, was in his fourth NFL season when he was shot and killed in November 2007 during a robbery attempt at his home in Florida.

Former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, who's now an analyst for ESPN, says the most important people - Taylor's family members - were happy with the results, but there was much more the team could have done to make it better.

"As a fan of Sean Taylor," Griffin tells USA TODAY Sports, "you gotta go get a bronze statue of him done. That almost looked like, and I know a lot of people have said this, it almost looked like they had a group project and they remembered that it was due the next day."

Commanders officials explained that the memorial was never supposed to be anything permanent, so it could be more easily moved when the team builds a new stadium.

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However, the former Heisman Trophy winner isn't convinced.

"That was a mannequin for Macy's. And that, that bothered me like deeply," Griffin says. "I was a fan of Sean Taylor. I didn't play safety, right, I played quarterback, but that's how transcendent of a player he was to be able to influence generations of football players. He deserves more."

Robert Griffin III stands on the sidelines before the Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov.
Robert Griffin III stands on the sidelines before the Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov.  

In addition to the memorial, the Commanders have retired Taylor's jersey number 21, inducted him into the franchise's Ring of Honor and set up a trust fund for his daughter. Even so, the team has not escaped criticism along the way.

The jersey retirement ceremony last year, for example, was hastily arranged and announced with only three days' notice. News of Sunday's unveiling of the Taylor memorial was revealed just five days ahead of time.

The public relations misseps, along with multiple investigations into allegations of a toxic work environment, have intenstified calls for owner Dan Snyder to sell the team.

"If the team does get sold," Griffin says, "I think that's one of the first things that they should do is go out and actually immortalize Sean Taylor the way that he should be. Give him a statue in front of the stadium.

"The guy is ... just beyond important to the franchise, beyond important to the fans. He deserves better than that."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Commanders' Sean Taylor memorial inadequate, Robert Griffin III says

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