The Washington Commanders were under fire again over the weekend after receiving harsh backlash over the team’s unveiling of a memorial dedicated to safety Sean Taylor on the 15th anniversary of his tragic death.
But at least one family member had a different reaction.
The two-time Pro Bowler’s half brother, Jamal Johnson, told TMZ Sports Monday he was honored by the Commanders’ gesture, which featured Taylor’s No. 21 jersey and helmet on a mannequin in a glass enclosure on the concourse of FedEx Field.
“It was greatly appreciated and an honor that his legacy lives on in D.C. … It’s really an honor,” Johnson told the outlet before adding, “I was at a loss for words.”
COMMANDERS’ MEMORIAL TO SEAN TAYLOR DRAWS NEGATIVE REVIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media erupted after the unveiling Sunday, with many arguing that Taylor deserved a statue. Johnson said “everybody is entitled to an opinion.”
“The family is greatly appreciative,” Johnson said. “It’s an honor, like I said, once again it’s an honor to get that kind of love and respect from an organization …”
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Taylor’s daughter, Jackie, who was in attendance for the unveiling, expressed a similar sentiment.
“It was something that was super special to him and something he chose to do,” she told WUSA9 of the soccer cleats on the display that sparked controversy. “It was beautiful, honestly. They put everything that he wore — soccer cleats, little things that were special to him and that he did as a player. That was really special.”
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Taylor tragically died from a gunshot wound at 24 years old during a botched robbery attempt in 2007. He had 305 tackles, 12 interceptions and eight forced fumbles in 55 games.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.