Needless to say, the July 4th weekend took a decidedly sad and stunning turn with the shooting deaths of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and a female companion in a Nashville, Tenn., condominium complex.
Details surrounding the deaths of McNair, 36, and 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi remain sketchy, but the information (and we use that term loosely in some cases) that came to light Saturday night and into Sunday ranged from sad to bizarre. We’ve posted the latest updates we can find below, but here’s what we know for certain:
- Four young boys are now left without their father, and his wife must now cope with a humiliating media frenzy in addition to the death of her husband. McNair, dubbed a “hometown hero” by The Tennessean in their story Saturday, had apparently been dating Kazemi for several months. Kazemi was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence two weeks ago in a Cadillac Escalade registered in both their names (Nashville police confirmed Saturday that McNair was a passenger in the car at the time; he later bailed her out). McNair was renting the apartment he was found in with longtime friend Wayne Neeley, who discovered the bodies of McNair and Kazemi on Saturday afternoon. Neeley did not notify authorities directly; he phoned a “friend” who in turn called local police.
- Regardless of where information in this case ultimately leads authorities, McNair left a powerful imprint on the game of football in general and the NFL in particular. He overcame poverty (McNair was raised by a single mother in rural Mississippi), good ol’ boy recruiting (he was recruited out of high school by several high-profile programs — but as a defensive back; he instead chose predominantly black Alcorn State, where he was assured by coaches he would get an opportunity to play QB) and lofty expectations (drafted third overall by Houston/Tennessee in 1995 — the highest position ever for a black QB — McNair was given a seven-year deal worth almost $30 million) to become one of the league’s top signal-callers. A three-time Pro Bowler and the NFL’s co-MVP in 2003, McNair was revered throughout his career for his toughness, tenacity and athleticism.
We offer our sincere condolences to the McNair family.
- Photos of woman found dead with McNair (Sports by Brooks)
- McNair threatened night before he was found dead (Nashville Post)
- Police “not actively looking for suspects” (The Tennessean)
- Steve McNair biography (JRank.org)