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Sean Taylor: Celebrity Injustice

Sean Taylor: Celebrity Injustice

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net

As some of you have noticed, the Sean Taylor legal case has not been discussed much here since it broke early last June. Perhaps such an omission has been irresponsible journalism on my part, but I had never seen enough about the details of the case to understand what happened. Believe it or not, I actually want to be informed about something before I form an opinion on it and, at least in in articles I've been able to find, the details of what actually happened have been very sketchy.

That is, in the articles I've been able to find up until today. I found this New York Times article by one Robert Andrew Powell. I'm not sure if Powell is a sports reporter or a legal reporter but he is definitely a reporter. He did some legwork, got access to the case file, interviewed one of the men involved in the incident and pieced together the best, most complete account to date of the confrontation that landed Taylor in legal hot water.

The picture painted is disturbing in many respects. I'm going to clip a few excerpts here, but I don't want to take too much of Powell's work. If you want to follow the rest of this blog, I'd suggest that you click on the link to Powell's story and read that and then come back.

Taylor, who had signed a multi million dollar contract a year earlier, was hanging out with a friend named Michael McFarlane in West Perrine, which Powell describes as, "a depressed community south of Miami." He brought along his two new ATV's to cruise the side streets and the lawns of the housing projects. At the end of the day, Taylor left them parked in McFarlane's lawn even though he didn't stay at his house.

The next morning the ATV's were gone. Yes, this just in, if you leave expensive items unsecured in housing projects overnight, they just might get stolen. To compound the stupidity, instead of calling the police Taylor, McFarlane and another unidentified man jumped into Taylor's truck and another car to cruise the neighborhood to try to find the vehicles.

For some reason they confronted a man named Ryan Hill, who was hanging out in the neighborhood with some friends and demanded to know where the ATV's were. Hill denied knowing where they were and that's when the confrontation started. Powell interviewed Hill for this story:

"He (Taylor) started talking nasty and stuff, talking about how: 'The police can't touch me. I own this town,' " Hill, 22, said in an interview on the stoop outside his mother's public-housing apartment in West Perrine, where he lives with her, a brother and a sister.

According to Hill and other witnesses, Taylor exited his truck, pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at Hill and a couple of his friends. Witnesses said another man pulled out an M-16 and demanded that Hill return Taylor's A.T.V.'s. When Hill denied stealing the vehicles, Taylor and the other man left in their cars. Both vowed to return and kill everyone present, according to depositions from Hill and other witnesses.

Obviously, if this is true, Taylor committed a crime here in pointing a gun at people and by threatening to kill them. He and the other men then left and further compounded the already already compounding stupidity and bad judgment by returning with a "posse". A fistfight evidently started by Taylor ensued and ended when Hill and his group fled. So now we have another crime committed by Taylor in starting a fight.

As if all of this wasn't strange enough, there was one final twist. Taylor drove his GMC Yukon back to McFarlane's house, parked it in front, and went inside.

A silver car pulled up. Hands poked out of the car's windows. From inside the house, McFarlane noticed guns and dived to the floor, according to depositions given by witnesses to Taylor's lawyers.

The Yukon was struck at least 15 times, and the police recovered 27 bullet cases, according to the police report.

Taylor was not at the house when police arrived. He turned himself in to police three days later to face one count of felony assault and one count of battery. In January, Dade County DA Michael Grieco, a/k/a DJ Dirty Sanchez, filed two additional felony assault charges. Since there was a gun involved in the assault cases they each carry a mandatory minimum of three years in jail if Taylor is convicted of them.

With the warning that I'm not a lawyer and not intimately familiar with what goes on every day in the housing projects near Miami or elsewhere, let me take a stab a summing this up. Two vehicles costing thousands of dollars each were stolen. Two men, one of them Taylor, drew guns and made threats. A fight involving a "posse" and Hill's group of friends broke out. A car filled with men drive by and with multiple guns and apparent disregard for the safety of whoever was in McFarlane's house or any bystanders who may have been present unloaded a couple of clips of bullets into Taylor's truck.

And in all of this Sean Taylor, the one whose ATV's were stolen and whose truck was shot up, is the only one charged with a crime. Isn't it fair to say that he was the victim of a couple of crimes himself? That doesn't excuse the crimes, of course, but if this was such an outrageous happening that someone who didn't fire a single shot is facing nine years in the slammer for it, what about his co-conspirators? What about whoever stole the ATV's valued at thousands of dollars? What about the ones who did the drive by?

It's important to note two other points here, points that in many cases would be causes for leniency when it came to considering a sentence for a defendant. First, there doesn't seem to be any premeditation on Taylor's part; whatever crimes were ones committed in the heat of the moment. Second, it's very important to note that when he returned after making the death threats, Taylor was not armed.

One does not have to be a Redskins homer or a skeptic to think that this reeks of a case of a publicity-hungry DA going after the only famous person involved in the whole mess. We do know that the Grieco was using press clippings from the case to promote his second career as the above-mentioned DJ Dirty Sanchez. Apparently, going after some guy named Hill doesn't generate enough pub to make it worth the additional time. Might cut into the clubbing time, don't ya know.

When we use the term "celebrity justice" it usually is in reference to a case where a famous person gets a slap on the wrist for a crime that would have brought the full hammer of justice down on us average folks. In this case with Sean Taylor, we seem to have the mirror image of that with very serious charges being brought for an incident that, while it calls for legal action, does not seem to be serious enough to warrant the possibility of such a severe penalty.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 2: The Games. This unique book has an account of every game that the Redskins played from the time they moved to Washington in 1937 through the 2001 season. To get details on the book and ordering information, go to http://www.RedskinsGames.com

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Redskins and Morgan Moses agree to five-year extension

Redskins and Morgan Moses agree to five-year extension

The Redskins have signed one of their own to a contract extension.

According to multiple reports, the team has reached agreement with right tackle Morgan Moses on a five-year contract extension. The deal will make him the second-highest paid right tackle in the NFL.

RELATED: Final NFL Mock Draft

Moses was entering the final year of his rookie contract. Absent an extension he was slated to become a free agent in 2018.

Moses, who just turned 26, was a third-round pick of the Redskins in 2014. He played sparingly as a rookie, appearing in eight games and starting one. In training camp in 2015 he was installed as the starter at right tackle and he has started all 32 games since then.

The highest-paid right tackle in the game is Lane Johnson of the Eagles. His contract averages $11.25 million per year. Second on the list is Ricky Wagner of the Lions whose deal has an average annual value of $9.5 million per year. So look for Moses’ deal to come in somewhere in the $10 million per year range.

MORE REDSKINS: Final Redskins mock: Defense goes 1-2, surprise in the third 

Of course, the details and fully guaranteed money are the most important aspects. Those will be reported in the coming days.

Moses’ extension means that the Redskins now have both of their offensive tackles under contract through at least the 2020 season. Left tackle Trent Williams signed a five-year, $66 million contract extension in 2015.

The extension was first reported by ESPN.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Will McCloughan advising other teams hurt the Redskins in the draft?

Will McCloughan advising other teams hurt the Redskins in the draft?

Redskins’ college scouting director Scott Campbell acknowledged earlier this week that the team’s draft board will have Scot McCloughan’s influence on it. The Redskins may not be alone in having a McCloughan imprint on their draft tonight.

According to Mike Garofolo of NFL Media, the former Redskins GM has resumed the scouting service that he ran prior to being hired by the Redskins in January of 2015. He supplied his evaluation of various draft prospects to teams who paid for his service.

RELATED: Final NFL Mock Draft

Team president Bruce Allen has let it be known since they fired McCloughan in early March he was free to do work for other teams. And apparently, McCloughan is doing just that, providing his evaluations to teams that the Redskins are trying to outsmart in the draft.

The report did not specify to which teams McCloughan has been providing reports. However, Garafolo did say that McCloughan is “not giving up” information about the Redskins’ strategy. Of course, that’s a very gray area. If McCloughan tells a team that he gives Player X a third-round grade that team can reasonably guess that the Redskins have a similar grade on him. Teams are hungry for any tidbits about what other teams are thinking and they can put such nuggets to good use, especially if they are considering a trade.

MORE REDSKINS: Final Redskins mock: Defense goes 1-2, surprise in the third 

However, it’s possible that the Redskins’ board has changed enough to make whatever information McCloughan might be leaking out so outdated as to be of very limited use. Had the Redskins really been highly concerned about what McCloughan might say to other teams they either would have kept him on the job or they could have continued to pay him through the end of the draft and prohibit him from working anywhere else until after the final pick is made on Saturday evening.

If it’s not anything else it’s a reminder that the guy the Redskins let go a month and a half before the draft is so good at evaluating draft talent that other teams are willing to pay for him to provide them with those evaluations even this late in the process. This may not be an issue for them in this draft but it could be a problem as they try to grow a winning program through the draft in the coming years.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.