Remember what ESPN radio noisemaker Colin Cowherd said about Sean Taylor after his death? If you need a reminder, here you go
Sean Taylor, great player has a history of really really bad judgment, really really bad judgment. Cops, assault, spitting, DUI. I’m supposed to believe his judgment got significantly better in two years, from horrible to fantastic? ‘But Colin he cleaned up his act.’ Well yeah, just because you clean the rug doesn’t mean you got everything out. Sometimes you’ve got stains, stuff so deep it never ever leaves....Just because somebody cleans the rugs doesn’t mean there aren’t stains. No matter what those commercials, OxiClean, tell you on cable TV, some stains you can’t get out. And if you have bad judgment for 23 years of your life, even if you clean it up, your judgment doesn’t get great over night.
Now, a few days after this speech, when it became clear that in this particular case Sean Taylor had not done anything wrong at all, Cowherd returned to the topic, and seemed to sort of admit he had been wrong
We are always opinionated and always aggressive and we think, on Sean Taylor, absolutely reasonable, though clearly at this point to some degree, wrong. And I’ve got no problems saying it. Well, I do have a problem saying it, I hate being wrong. Who likes being wrong? I don’t like being wrong.”
A good many Redskins fans, of course, never forgave Cowherd. But I always figured this was pure radio shtick, an effort to be typically controversial just to get people talking about him, even if it was in outraged tones.
But maybe I was wrong. Maybe Cowherd really believes in stains so deep you can't get ‘em out. Because he discussed the issue at length in the new ESPN oral history book, and he’s back to defending his original point of view.
“Now with the Sean Taylor thing, my superior, Mo Davenport, an African American, listened to it and had no problem with it. A lot of it was turned into a racial issue. ‘Insensitive.’ And I would say it again. Sean Taylor came out of the University of Miami with a reputation. I really leaned on African American journalists — Stephen A. Smith, Michael Wilbon — who were critical of him. This is a guy who had an SUV riddled with bullets several years earlier. His best friend told him, ‘Stay out of Miami.’ If you listen to my commentary and go to the Internet, it was warranted, it was reasonable, and yes, it could have been wrong. But I’m not in the business of reviewing everything before I talk about it. I’m in talk radio. A story breaks, I need an opinion. I’m not ESPN News.
I came out later and said, ‘Here are the facts. Here is the truth.’ I never really apologized. I came on the air and said, ‘Many of you were offended. You were offended by my tone or tenor. I understand it. That’s my Colin tenor. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But I’m not going to apologize for my tone. Go back and look at exactly what I said.’
One of the comments that bothered people — people said, ‘He turned his life around.’ And I came out and said, ‘Hey, a lot of times you clean the carpet, but you don’t get all the stains out.’ And people are like, ‘What does that mean?’ Well, just because you turn your life around doesn’t mean everybody else is going to accept your apology. I mean, Sean had made a lot of enemies in his life apparently.”
So, with three years to think about it, that’s what Cowherd came up with. Sean had made a lot of enemies in his life apparently.