Scouring the Internet on a Saturday morning, I ran across a sports commentary where the writer is insisting that Lawrence Taylor should be removed from the Pro Football Hall of Fame if convicted over his latest legal issue.

Seriously? Over a prostitution charge when there is an alleged double murderer (O.J. Simpson) enshrined in the hallowed halls of Canton?

There is no doubting Taylor is a despicable human being – always has been, always will be – but how do you pull Taylor out of the Hall of Fame if Simpson wasn’t pulled after slashing two people to death? (Yes, I know the criminal case jury didn’t find O.J. guilty, but the civil suit judgment against him says something entirely different.)

Think about this, Taylor was known to be a bad human being when he came up for induction after his brilliant playing career ended. But guess what, the geniuses who vote on these things – sports writers – were fine with overlooking all his arrests and drug issues back in 1999 in his first year of eligibility.

At the time, there was a lot of debate over whether off-the-field conduct should be considered and then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue make it clear that on-the-field performance was what decided who makes the Hall of Fame.

By any measure, Taylor was a Hall of Fame player and a major reason why the New York Giants won two Super Bowls during his career. You can’t have a discussion about the top defensive players in NFL history without his name being one of the first mentioned.

Taylor was the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1986 when he had the then-unheard of total of 20.5 sacks to become only the second defensive player ever to win MVP honors (Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Alan Page in 1971 is the other).

Off-the-field, Taylor has always been a complete mess. That he has continued to stay in the limelight 15-plus years after his career ended is largely based on playing his entire career with the Giants in the larger-than-life New York media market.

One of the signs that the current reality-show era is a complete joke is when a guy like Taylor lands on “Dancing With the Stars.” Most people wouldn’t want to spend more than two minutes talking to someone with a rap sheet like his but there he was on primetime television in the spring of 2009 being fawned over like he was some honest-to-goodness class act.

Remove the first two letters from class and you describe Taylor perfectly. That will never change no matter how the case over the alleged rape of a 16-year-old gets sorted out during the legal process.

Just imagine if there were cell-phone cameras and social networking when Taylor was playing for the Giants. Just think of all the other seedy things Taylor did that never made it out to the real world.

Don’t think today’s NFL players are conscious of today’s TMZ-like atmosphere? San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is in Boise, Idaho right now and before leaving his hotel room to eat on Friday night – rumor is he ate at Chandlers Steakhouse – he posted the following message on his Twitter page:

“Going to eat and if any female tries to talk to me I’m checking I’d’s for conversation!!!” (his spelling, not mine)

If that sounds like a reference to the Taylor issue, it probably is. Merriman wears No. 56 because of Taylor and he also has this recent post on his Twitter page: “Still the Greatest player of all time…LT” The attached photo is of Taylor, not his former Chargers teammate LaDainian Tomlinson.

The point here is there are types of shady individuals in the respective sports hall of fames and the majority of the inductees didn’t live under the microscope that recent-era players do. Pulling Taylor out of the Hall of Fame over his stupid prostitution fling with a teenager being pimped out doesn’t even make it on the radar when compared to the guy who made the “white bronco” infamous in his most-startling actions-speak-louder-than-words admission that he has something to do with the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Plus, wasn’t O.J. supposed to be looking for the real killers? Instead, he eventually found jail time for an armed robbery attempt that was even dumber than Taylor’s recent infraction.

So as long as O.J. Simpson is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, everybody else is safe. That includes Lawrence Taylor.

  1. jay says:

    At least, he’s removed of the Nutrisystem ads. That’s a start. Lean and mean, eh?

  2. michellefrommadison says:

    Any one of those involved, for what ever reasons, could always just walk right into a police station, a fire station, or even call 911 to put an end to their involvement, but they choose to remain involved, including the supposive “victim.” That invalidates the title of being a victim then.

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