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Dwyane Wade pays tribute to Sean Taylor on the anniversary of his death

Dwyane Wade pays tribute to Sean Taylor on the anniversary of his death

Sean Taylor was a Miami legend after growing up in the city and playing both high school and college football there, including winning the 2001 National Championship as a part of one of the most stacked college rosters in history.

Dwyane Wade is a Miami legend after playing with the Heat for parts of 15 seasons across two stints, including winning NBA Championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013.

Their time playing in Florida only lasted from the time Wade was drafted to the Heat in 2003 to Taylor being selected by the Redskins in 2004, but they both made their mark in a town that loves its sporting heroes.

On Tuesday night, Wade decided to pay tribute to Taylor during the Heat's matchup with the Atlanta Hawks.

It's common practice for NBA players to use their shoes to honor friends and family, make fans aware of causes important to them, or pay tribute to those who have passed. Wade picked Tuesday to write "RIP Sean Taylor" on his shoes due to its obvious significance; it was exactly 11 years ago that Taylor died after being shot protecting his family from burglars in his home.

Taylor's 2007 death rocked D.C. and the sporting world at large, including his legion of fans in Miami. Wade, of course, was still starring for the Heat at the time, and surely felt the impact Taylor's loss had on the Miami community. It's a kind gesture for the superstar to recognize Taylor on such an emotional day for his friends and family.

Small acts like these help Taylor's memory and legacy live on more than a decade after his untimely passing. While it will never get easier for those closest to him, it's always cool to see other athletes taking the time to honor a special player, and a special man.

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'Where is the humanity?': Chris Thompson opens up on the negative side of social media

'Where is the humanity?': Chris Thompson opens up on the negative side of social media

There are a ton of positives, from specific examples like what Derrius Guice has been able to do with Redskins supporters since being drafted or more general things like getting the chance to see what your favorite 'Skin is up to on an off day, that have resulted from the growing relationship between players and fans through social media. 

But with that increased connection comes increased volatility. Now, you don't have to be within earshot at a stadium to get on someone wearing Burgundy and Gold for a mistake they made or a loss they participated in. 

It's that second part — the constant criticism that largely goes unseen — that upsets Chris Thompson.

So, while he was responding to a question about Mason Foster's leaked Instagram messages, the running back made sure to comment on life as an athlete on social media overall.

"Dealing with the fans, it's hard because we're all human," Thompson said. "It's real tough when people keep coming at you and saying negative stuff towards you like we're not human beings and we're not supposed to say something at some point."

The veteran, who has distanced himself from things like Instagram and Twitter and has noticed how his mental state has improved because of that distancing, knows that ignoring the negativity is the proper route to take. It's far from the easiest route, though.

"Once you say something back to them it's like, 'Oh, you're not supposed to say anything,'" Thompson explained. "No, we're all human. If you say something, sometimes you should expect a response. And then on the flip side, there are some times we just gotta hold our tongue, and it's really, really, really, really hard sometimes. You don't know how hard it is."

Jonathan Allen is another Redskin who tries to limit his exposure to certain apps and sites these days. The fan interaction is something he enjoys, but in the end, it doesn't take much for those interactions to sour.

"The way I look at it, 99-percent of fans are great," Allen said. "They're supportive of what you do, they're always gonna love the Redskins. But there's gonna be that 1-percent of fans who aren't like that, and those are the fans that are gonna ruin it for everybody and give players the bad image of all the fans."

Thompson told one story of a recent message he got online from someone who blamed him for ruining his fantasy season by missing games due to injury. The 28-year-old couldn't comprehend how someone could write that to him while he's battling through broken ribs on both sides and an ankle issue.

Sadly, it was just one example that stood out among countless others, all of which make up the uglier side of technology in 2018.

"Where is the humanity?" Thompson said. "It sucks because we're not really looked at as humans. We're kind of robots. We're not supposed to have feelings, we're only supposed to show emotion on the field and everything should be about football, football, football."

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Redskins teammates defend Mason Foster after his critical Instagram messages are leaked

Redskins teammates defend Mason Foster after his critical Instagram messages are leaked

For yet another week at Redskins Park, members of the team were forced to face non-football questions despite still being in the mix for a playoff spot.

This time around, the topic at hand was Mason Foster. On Tuesday, private messages between the linebacker and another Instagram user were leaked, and in those messages, Foster was critical of the Redskins and their fans. 

In the locker room on Wednesday, though, multiple players backed Foster and vouched for his character.

"All I know is what I see from him everyday, and I have nothing but good things to say about him as far as a teammate and a person," Jonathan Allen, who explained that he hardly pays attention to social media during the season and didn't see the Foster exchange, said.

"He's actually my favorite guy in the locker room," Vernon Davis said. "I'm sure he was just in the heat of the moment and he didn't really mean what he said... We all have moments where we're frustrated and stressed."

Foster wasn't available to reporters Wednesday. In the messages, he wrote in part, "F— this team and this fanbase." He also referenced that he's made out to be a "scapegoat," which doesn't sit well with him.

Like Davis, Adrian Peterson figured No. 54 was venting to the person and there wasn't anything more to read into it than that.

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," Peterson said. "He's one guy that I haven't questioned his effort at all on the field this year. I'm sure he regrets it now, now that everyone knows about what he was saying privately."

"But it doesn't change anything for me," he added. "When he's out there, he's giving 110-percent."

Foster becomes just the latest defender to stir up controversy. DJ Swearinger, Zach Brown and Josh Norman have all been at the center of issues, too, as the unit is deteroriating both on and off the field with the season nearing its conclusion.

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