Allegations: Sean Taylor

·NFL columnist

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  • Audio

  • Response

This photo was taken at Miami’s team awards banquet following the 2002 season. From left to right are Sean Taylor, Nevin Shapiro (showing his 2001 Hurricanes national championship ring) and Howard Clark.
Photo special to Yahoo! Sports


Nevin Shapiro on Taylor: Play audio

Sean Taylor was one of dozens of Hurricanes players named by Nevin Shapiro in recorded interviews with federal agents. During those interviews, the booster admitted supplying countless benefits to an array of Miami players from 2002 to 2010. Shapiro alleges he provided multiple extra benefits to Taylor starting in the player's sophomore season. Among the benefits he claimed to have provided:

Sean Taylor
  • Position: Safety

  • Rivals recruiting rank: Unranked. Taylor was a SuperPrep All-American in the Class of 2001.

  • Miami career: An instant contributor as a freshman who blossomed into a star as a sophomore and became one of the best defensive players in the country by his junior season. Taylor departed after three seasons and was selected by the Washington Redskins with the fifth pick in the 2004 NFL draft. He was murdered in 2007 during a home burglary.

• A pair of diamond-studded dog tags from Buchwald Jewelers for approximately $15,000. According to a summary document acquired by Yahoo! Sports, Shapiro informed federal agents of the purchase of the dog tags during taped interview sessions. However, government documents recounted the value of the dog tags at $26,000.

• Shapiro also informed federal agents in recorded interviews that both he and current Miami football staffer Sean Allen had knowledge of his partner in Axcess Sports – then-NFL agent and current UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue – paying Taylor while he was playing for the Hurricanes. According to summary documents acquired by Yahoo! Sports, Shapiro informed agents that Huyghue stated to him directly that he had paid Taylor while he was with the Hurricanes.

• $3,000 in bounties. The bounties were for a 22-14 win over Florida State on Oct. 11, 2003, in which Taylor had a pair of interceptions ($500 each), a defensive touchdown ($1,000) and Shapiro's "hit of the game" ($1,000) when Taylor floored Seminoles quarterback Chris Rix at the Florida State 1-yard line.

• Drinks and VIP access in nightclubs on multiple occasions.

• Cash gifts.

• Food, drinks and entertainment at Shapiro's $2.7 million Miami Beach home.

• Attendance at private bachelor parties at a penthouse suite at the Sagamore Hotel and a mansion on North Bay road.

• Entertainment on Shapiro's $1.6 million yacht.

Corroborating accounts

• One source corroborated Shapiro's account of purchasing Taylor diamond-studded dog tags at Buchwald Jewelers.

• One source corroborated Shapiro entertaining Taylor on his yacht on multiple occasions.

• Two sources corroborated Shapiro providing Taylor with drinks and VIP access in nightclubs on multiple occasions.

In Shapiro's words

• "I bought [Sean Taylor] a pair of diamond dog tags which cost me somewhere around 15 grand at Buchwald Jewelers. … Sean waited outside the building [at Buchwald]. I met him and we left. We didn't come together."

• "He was at my house often. He was always in the clubs with us. And he was at all the private parties – a majority of them. [He was at] bachelor parties for two of my best friends at the time – Mark Levinson and Richard Grillasca. I rented the Sagamore [Hotel] penthouse suite for Mark Levinson and the whole team was there. A lot of guys were there. And then I rented a mansion on North Bay Road. … He was on my boat fishing any number of times. We would always start out around 4:30, 5 a.m. And I gave him cash so many times I can't even remember."


Taylor is deceased.