"Many of the
people who made opinions and made statements about Sean Taylor," added
McNeil, "didn't know Sean Taylor."
matters was the fact that one of the most controversial statements about
Taylor's death came from someone who did know Taylor. Rolle threw chum in the
water the day after Taylor died by saying there was more at play than a botched
burglary. He identified Taylor as a target and said his boyhood friend was
"scared" whenever he returned to Miami over the last three years. Two
days later Rolle backtracked, telling SI that what he meant to say was that,
because of his success, Taylor was always under a microscope when he returned
to South Florida. "I'm not saying that people were actually targeting him
to kill him," said Rolle, who hadn't spoken to Taylor in about a year.
"I'm not saying he had enemies, because I don't know whether he had enemies
portrayal of Taylor and the innuendo surrounding his murder almost certainly
wasn't malicious, but rather another example of the media's rush to explain
what had yet to be explained, the desperate need to be quicker and louder than
the next news outlet.
Didn't we learn
anything from the Duke lacrosse case about rushing to judgment?
"I looked at
this from a lot of different angles—from being an alumnus of the University of
Miami, from being a former professional football player, from being a publisher
of a media property," says McNeil. "And I think that because there
wasn't a lot of information being shared, everybody's imagination was allowed
to run free.
"But at the
end of the day, we have to remember that his family is at a loss, I'm at a loss
because I knew him, his friends and his teammates are at a loss, and the NFL is
at a loss. To me, this hurts on a number of different levels because this kid
had so much potential, not only as a player but as a person."