Steve McNair: I'll Hold Off On The Sainthood For Now Thankyou!

JosephContributor IJuly 7, 2009

This is certainly not a rush to judgment, nor is it meant to be an attempt to vilify Steve McNair especially since I don’t have all the facts. But since I can’t be silent, I’ll simply stick to discussing what we all already know because it’s been reported in the press.

Steve McNair, former NFL MVP and quarterback of the Tennessee Titans, is dead! He was found dead on the sofa in the living room of a condo he co-rents with a friend.

McNair had multiple gunshot wounds including two fatal shots to the head. On the floor, not far from Steve’s body, was the body of 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, a “friend” of McNair’s, dead from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Quoting McNair’s ‘condo-mate’ (who reportedly discovered the dead bodies), an NBC Sports report stated “Aaron said McNair’s wife, Mechelle, is “very distraught.”” Wow, thanks Aaron for stating the patently obvious!

Sadly, what we really do need to know, we don’t know. Here’s what we don’t know: the who, the why, the when and so many other details of this morbid tale. So the “million dollar” question is: what do we know?

Well, we know that Steve McNair, 36, was married and had four sons.

We know that Steve McNair, 36, was found dead alongside a 20-year-old girl (Kazemi) purported to be his girlfriend.

We know that “Two days ago, Nashville police arrested Kazemi on a DUI charge while driving a 2007 Escalade registered to her and McNair.”

We know that the arrest affidavit said “Kazemi had bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on her breath, but refused a breathalyzer test, saying “she was not drunk, she was high.””

We know that “McNair and his family frequented the restaurant where Kazemi was a waitress” and that “McNair and Kazemi met at the restaurant.”

We know that Steve McNair has left a widow and four sons asking questions that may never be answered.

Yet just about every sports personality that has been interviewed since McNair’s death has had nothing but compliments to pay the deceased quarterback. All we’ve heard on ESPN and similar networks are stories of his hardy resilience and tremendous skill as a football player. Not one person has publicly mentioned his wife and kids except to say that he was a “great father.”

Excuse me? Unless we’ve redefined great fatherhood, I unequivocally suggest that McNair doesn’t qualify to be one. Great fathering isn’t earning MVP honors and playing on Superbowl Sunday.

Great fathering isn’t even just about being able to provide palatial properties, venerated vacations or amazing automobiles for your kids.

Great Father’s put their families’ interests ahead of their own. The legacy McNair has left for his sons is not just one of a great football player, but of numerous photos of him frolicking with a girl almost half his age while they and their mother waited at home.

May I suggest that it’s kind of difficult to be focused on what legacy you’re leaving your kids, swinging from a swing-set while on vacation with a 20-year-old beauty, while your sons are at home trying to figure out their homework!?

Being on the streets in the small hours of the morning with a young, inebriated (or by her own admission, “high”) lady driving an Escalade registered in both your names while your family waits at home, does not qualify you as a good father, at least not in my book.

Can we for once hold off on all the trite accolades and be honest about people in the public eye whom we love to celebrate? Can we at least honestly say that he didn’t just “make some mistakes,” as so many of his compatriots have said, but lived a self-absorbed and selfish life and that’s what killed him?

Because, while we’re delivering these hortatory speeches about what a great person he was, who’s sparing a thought for how his sons will go through life having to deal with the knowledge of how and why their father died so prematurely?

For that matter, who is sparing a thought for the agony, shame, and myriad questions his wife (who, according to his ‘condo-mate’ is “very distraught”) is going to have to deal with for the rest of her life?

So my question is: Was it worth it? Is this the legacy that Steve envisioned leaving for his sons as he raised them into young men? Having examined all that we do know, I’m still left with more questions than answers, and I’m saddened that all too often our lives are so self-serving and self-absorbed to the detriment of those that should mean the most to us.

Are Steve’s sons supposed to remember their dad as the man who loved and protected their family, or as the adulterous husband found shot to death alongside a lover almost half his age? Since I honestly can’t answer that question, I’ll hold off on the sainthood accolades for now. That’s my two cents.