McNair's story all too familiar


In a lot of ways, Steve McNair was a pioneer. Here was a guy who made it all the way to the NFL from a town smaller than my neighborhood. Someone who got to the top by way of Division I-AA Alcorn State, where he almost won the Heisman. And perhaps most significant of all, McNair became a star at the highest level when being black was still considered detrimental for quarterbacks.

He was the type of athlete we’d all like to believe we would be with the type of overcoming-all-odds story we’d all need to have to ever come close to playing on Sundays. He was the type of role model we wanted our kids to have with the work ethic we want all players to possess.

He should still be that guy today.

But he’s not. Now, as we learn more and more about the secret life that appears to have led to his murder over the weekend, the Steve McNair story becomes a lot more typical. He now comes off as the type of guy we believe all athletes and celebrities are – unfaithful, selfish, egotistical types who think they can get away with anything because of who they are and what they do.

It should be made clear that famous people aren’t the only ones who cheat on their wives and run out on their families, but I also find it hard to believe this would have happened if McNair never made it to the NFL and just remained in Mount Olive, Mississippi his entire life. His fame played a role here. It allowed him to pick up a woman half his age and his money allowed him to hide their relationship from everyone in his life.

Not everyone has the ability to pull off that double-life, but athletes can and many of them do. McNair’s story should serve as a cautionary tale for those guys. It’s not that sleeping around will get you killed – that’s extreme. It’s that getting into these situations can and more than likely will lead to jealousy and resentment from one of the parties affected. That’s where problems come from.

But you know what? It’s hard to have faith in the unfaithful athlete. They haven’t learned from Magic Johnson, who could have died from sleeping around. And they clearly haven’t learned anything from Shawn Kemp (who has seven children with seven women) because Travis Henry actually topped that number. So why should anyone think they’ll learn from the guy whose girl friend murdered him?

That’s the thing with athletes. We expect them to be superhuman, but that doesn’t make them super humans. Steve McNair, it turns out, was no different. He’s gone now and so is his wonderful story. All we have left is an all too familiar athletic legacy.

More on Steve McNair
A few last words on Steve McNair - Where's the Outrage?
Affair McNair - Me Talk Athlete
The Legacy of Steve McNair… A Good Man Just Not Perfect - A Couple Things


Anonymous 9:30 AM, July 07, 2009  

WE don't even know that he killed by the woman yet and your talking about how his legacy is screwed up. This is pretty inconsiderate considering a man with a family just died.

Anonymous 12:36 AM, July 08, 2009  

"We expect them to be superhuman, but that doesn’t make them super humans."

And Dan is once again trying to be Rick Reilly. lol

Anonymous 2:40 AM, July 08, 2009  

I've thought long and hard about this tragedy. I think about his children first, then his wife. I'd want to be the inspiration of my children. How great he was as a player seems so insignificant now that he is dead. As a person who did not personally know Steve McNair can not say if he was a good person. Regardless if the girlfriend pulled the trigger or not. I struggle with how this tragedy impacts his own flesh and blood. It is great to be an inspiration to others, but compared to your children??? I've always heard and known that family comes first, so I think it is hard to try and put non family greatness and admiration for a sport in front of the family. I am sorry this happened. I don't want to judge this man, but the message I see from this tragedy is that your priorities should be aligned and invested in your family.

Stevie 2:11 PM, July 08, 2009  

He was a good quarterback and a good person. Good Bless Him.

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WH Titan Fan 11:05 PM, July 09, 2009  

Nobody is perfect. People cheat all the time. Just because he was a celebrity quarterback doesn't mean he's any different than me or you. When he's on the field, we are allowed to watch and judge him. However, I don't think we should judge is personal life. That's private and whatever he did on his own time was exactly that, on his own time. Don't pass judgement on a man whom you just hear the exterior story. No divorce papers surfaced, but not all marriages are healthy no matter what. They could've been taking a break or having time apart. I don't believe his legacy is flawed at all. Pretty soon the memory will turn into "he was killed by a woman" and then "he was killed" and then "he passed away 10 years ago." So why focus on the negatives of his death? If people can respect and be sad for Michael Jackson's death after molesting children, why shouldn't Steve get any slack? That's just pathetic. RIP Air McNair.

Gamb 1:04 PM, July 10, 2009  

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Kevin 2:02 AM, July 13, 2009  

Good post. It's frustrating to see people still glorifying McNair as the circumstances of his death become known. Of course no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, but I believe the real victims here are McNair's wife and children.

Teddy 1:18 AM, July 14, 2009  

Great post. The lesson learned should be that no one's perfect, especially rich athletes who fall into this trap too often. It's sad that he will be remembered for how his life ended rather than his on the field accomplishments.


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