All week I've been trying to figure out why the senseless death of football star Sean Taylor has upset me so much. Yes, I had met him a few times when he was in high school, a nice, polite kid who my son knew. And yes, I had watched him wow us with his exploits on the field when he played for the University of Miami and then the Washington Redskins.
But that alone doesn't explain the unsettled feeling at the pit of my stomach. Then watching yesterday's funeral at the Pharmed Arena
I realized that I was upset by several things. First and foremost, Sean's death typified what is happening among so many of our young people, especially among black and Hispanic men -- too much violence, too much death. His murder cut short a life with so much potential, and all because of greed, because of thieves who wanted to take wealth that wasn't theirs.
I was also pretty miffed at my profession. So many writers and sportscasters jumped to conclusions about why he had been killed, and maybe now they are deservedly eating crow. Repeatedly and in private I heard from my son and his high school friends that Sean was misunderstood, that the media had been doing a hatchet job on his life and intentions. that Sean was actually shy and humble and sometimes a little embarrassed by the attention. The person he was off the field was different from the hard-hitting win-at-all-costs player.