WFT's Jason Wright Apologizes for 'Short Notice' of Sean Taylor Jersey Retirement

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 14, 2021

Washington Football Team president Jason Wright talks to fans after an NFL practice during training camp Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Dean Hoffmeyer)
AP Photo/Dean Hoffmeyer

Washington Football Team president Jason Wright apologized for the franchise's rollout of the decision to retire Sean Taylor's No. 21 jersey.

The organization announced Thursday it will hold a ceremony during Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Wright apologized because "the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had."

Jason Wright @whoisjwright

We wanted to do something long overdue by retiring players' numbers. Months ago we planned for Bobby Mitchell and Sean Taylor to be the first two. Seeing the reaction, I'm very sorry that the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had. President's Brief to come...

Taylor was a two-time Pro Bowler in his four years with Washington. He died at the age of 24 when he was shot in his home during a burglary.

The Florida native remains a beloved figure among the fanbase, so retiring his jersey is a natural step in cementing his legacy.

However, the timing of Thursday's announcement left some surprised.

In the case of Bobby Mitchell, more than a year passed between the announcement of his jersey retirement in June 2020 and his official ceremony in September. With Taylor, on the other hand, fans are getting less than a week to prepare.

Whether intentional or not, the retirement ceremony comes at a time when the Washington Football Team is in need of good news.

JP Finlay @JPFinlayNBCS

I have no idea why they handled public roll out of Sean Taylor’s jersey retirement so poorly - really really poorly - but I do know the event has been planned for weeks. Something like this should be such a celebration and they announce it 3 days in advance. So so bad. And sad.

Neil Greenberg @ngreenberg

Just so I am clear, the plan all along was to announce retiring Bobby Mitchell's number and wait for almost two years only to suddenly couple it with Sean Taylor's this Sunday? And it has nothing to do with the emails that surfaced a few days ago? <a href="https://t.co/XzUl9oUiyM">https://t.co/XzUl9oUiyM</a>

Kimberley A. Martin @ByKimberleyA

Love the changes Jason Wright and Ron Rivera have made within WFT’s building thus far. …But the lack of awareness when it comes to this Sean Taylor situation is alarmingly familiar — and therefore surprising.

Washington is off to a 2-3 start and ranks last in attendance, averaging 51,002 fans per game through three home contests. Ownership is facing renewed scrutiny regarding the NFL's investigation into allegations of a toxic work environment at WFT's offices as well.

The racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails that resulted in former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden's resignation were unearthed as part of that investigation. Former WFT president Bruce Allen was among the people Gruden wrote to when he used the offending language.

The Washington Post's Will Hobson also reported Wednesday that attorneys for the Washington Football Team had offered money to former female team employees in exchange for them to refrain from speaking about their experiences with the team.

This isn't the first time WFT has received criticism for a perception that it's using the goodwill toward Taylor to benefit its bottom line. On the 11th anniversary of Taylor's death in 2018, Deadspin's Dave McKenna noted the team was selling a plush doll with his likeness. The doll was subsequently removed from the online store.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.