I was going to write that last night — a tribute event concluding of the auction of Sean Taylor‘s vehicles — wrapped up the first year of mourning for the late Redskins safety. I was going to reference the tributes from last week and Sunday’s game, talk about closure, and allude to Judaic traditions regarding the first year of mourning and their (coincidental) relevance here.
That was what I figured the story was, until I attended the event itself. And watching the people gathered at The Original Steakhouse & Sports Theatre in Ashburn, Virginia, last night, I realized that this event really was much more about Sean Taylor’s daughter Jackie Taylor than it was about further memorializing Sean.
That’s not to say it wasn’t a tribute to Sean; it was, of course. Eric Espada’s photo montage was running on all the TVs for much of the night, followed by the tribute from the FedExField Jumbotron last year, which literally moved people to tears.
But the purpose of the auction was clearly Jackie M. Taylor. Much of the talk was about her, and about how the players had stepped up to help take care of her in the last year. The proceeds of the auction went to the Sean Taylor Estate Trust for her, and the bidding in the auction reflected that. Players and guests seemed to be bidding more as a way of taking care of Jackie than out of any specific need (or even desire) for the items up for auction.
Carlos Rogers, for example, bid on and won a cruise. “I heard the money’s going to be going to the baby, that it’s for her when she gets older. I know how much Sean loved his daughter, and if he were still here,” Rogers told me, trailing off. He paused, then added, “Anything I can do to support her, I love to do.”
Taylor’s cars and boat were auctioned off, with the help of Eastern Motors founder and CEO Robert Bassam, and it would be reasonable to assume that those were the biggest ticket items of the evening — and, counting purely in terms of gross dollar amount, they were.
But a framed, signed 21 jersey, complete with picture of Taylor signing it, closed at $15,000, sold to the restaurant’s owner, Osama El-Atari. That seemed like a ludicrous sum of money to me, so it came as even more of a shock when the bidding was reopened and went all the way up to $25,000, where it finished with El-Atari still the high bidder. I was frankly staggered by the number — it’s underlined about twelve times in my notebook — and then I saw Jackie running around with her mother, Jackie Garcia, and I remembered what Rogers had said earlier, and it all made a lot more sense.
(El-Atari actually expressed very similar sentiments to Rogers, according to this morning’s Washington Post story on the event, which quotes him as saying “It’s not about the money, it’s for the family. It’s for the family and the estate.”)