Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Sean Taylor Was Human, The MSM Wasn't Aware


(Pic ripped from the dominating BP at AA. Read his take on this as well.)

I briefly mentioned my distaste for the mainstream media's handling of the Sean Taylor tragedy in my MMCNY post (its at the very bottom). Before I ever got a chance to follow up my comment, Will at Deadspin beat me to the punch. He's right on with the argument. Read and learn.

I'm absolutely sick over the way the MSM is constantly bringing up every past wrong in Taylor's life, as if all his problems contributed to his death. Do we really need to be talking about his prior DUI, or his legal battles?

Here's an excerpt from ESPN's report about Taylor's passing:

[Taylor] had a drunken driving charge that was later dismissed. He skipped part of the NFL's mandatory rookie symposium. He fired two agents. He didn't like his contract. He refused to return Gibbs' calls during the offseason. And he was fined at least seven times for late hits, uniform violations and other on-field infractions.

In 2005, he was accused of pointing a gun during a fight over all-terrain vehicles near his Miami home, a legal battle that ended a year later when he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors and was sentenced to probation.

Why the need to mention this? If something tragic happened to anyone of us, I'm sure our families would be devastated if the local newspapers peppered our obituaries with a bulleted list of every traffic ticket, college-party infraction or minor squabbles with the law. This is a time to reflect on Taylor's life, not a vehicle to point out that he wasn't perfect.

However, kudos to Jeff Chadiha for only briefly mentioning Taylor's early immaturity as a way to show how much he grew in the past few years. Articles like this show that you can mention Taylor's problems without reading off a laundry list of offenses and altercations.

And I'm not just picking at ESPN. Every news source felt the need to mention every run-in with the law or questionable decision.

Taylor wasn't perfect. I challenge anyone to prove that they are.

The MSM handled this poorly. To say the very least.

R.I.P. to Sean Taylor, the human.



Eddy Spaghetti said...

I am going to go out on a limb and defend the MSM. A first on the internet.

Reporters have a responsibility to tell a complete story and with a tragedy like this, that is a VERY hard line to walk. If they omitted those facts, they would have gotten KILLED in a week when columnists looked back on the coverage or if this does in some way turn out to be tied to his checkered past.

Where they insensitive: yes, particularly Mike Wilbon. Was it impossible to be sensitive and comprehensive: most likely.

tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson said...

Ed Spags,

You bring up a valid point, one that I struggled with before writing this.

It would be tragic if this shooting was tied to his checkered past. However, I find it hard to believe that it stemmed from the DUI, or from his firing his agents, or missing the rookie symposium. I don't see the need to mention those parts. It reeked of the MSM saying, "This was a lesser guy."

There's a time and a place to mention his past, just not in the very news break that is telling the public about his unfortunate passing. That's why Chadiha was extremely classy in his piece. He mentioned Taylor having bumps in the road, but only to prove how much he matured recently.