Approaching one week after former Houston Oiler and Tennessee Titan quarterback Steve McNair was found shot to death in a rented downtown Nashville condominium, fans and media alike are still grieving over what they would have you believe is an absolute tragedy in the sporting world -- a beloved, all-American football player who was active in the community with various charities and volunteer organizations gunned down in a selfless act of apparent murder-suicide. A married man only in his 30s – the father of four young boys – killed for no visible reason, no evident logic, and no common sense.
The biggest piece of the puzzle, though, that most seem to leave out, perhaps intentionally, is the fact that Mr. McNair was found with who we now know was his mistress – 20-year old Iranian woman Sahel Kazemi. The two had been dating for several months prior to the July 4TH killings, and only two days before shooting McNair and turning the gun on herself, Kazemi purchased a gun from a private owner.
But you’d be hard-pressed to find anything but praise and compliments about McNair. All week long, tributes of McNair’s “greatness” aired on television and radio alike, with what seemed to be every on-air talent ready to shower Steve McNair and his resume with eulogies. Even a colleague of mine, columnist for a national sports magazine, claiming “…the way he lived, the way he made people better, will always be his NFL legacy.” But in the end, how did he make his family and fans feel better?
Like a sheep and its flock, citizens followed. Listeners flooded sports talk radio airwaves this past week claiming that the man should be remembered for his charity, many skeptical about McNair and Kazemi’s actual relationship. Blame the woman, some say! She clearly had mental issues and financial hardships, and so McNair obviously played no fault in his own murder. And perhaps most disturbing, his wife just wasn’t cutting it – he’s Steve McNair after all! He should be free to date whoever, whenever.
But what is possibly the explicitly disturbing part of the story is that Steve McNair’s mother, Lucille, remains in denial, as well, about the actualities of McNair’s lifestyle. “I don’t want to know…the way I see it, it was the Devil’s work,” she told the The Tennessean newspaper.
No ma’am. It wasn’t the Devil. It wasn’t God. It wasn’t anything else but Steve McNair.
It simply comes down to this: Steve McNair played people for fools. He played his wife, his kids, his mother, and his fans. And people who believed his act were fools.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Ozzie Newsome, general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, said, “We immediately think of his family, his boys.” That’s what I think of as well – Mr. McNair’s children. The fact that McNair did not think how reprehensible his actions of dating another woman would be for his children, the fact that his children have to live for the rest of their lives knowing their father was a liar and a cheater to them, and their mother Mechelle, and the fact that he leaves his children without a father figure in their lives shows McNair’s true colors.
McNair could have had all the foundations named after him that he wanted, donated as much money to volunteer programs as he wished, and spent as much time possible helping Louisianans rebuild after Hurricane Katrina – in the end, it didn’t matter, and shouldn’t matter.
To relive an infamous quotation from the 2008 presidential campaign, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig. Steve McNair reaped what he sowed, and now his family will have to live with his repercussions for the rest of their lives. Have we become such a gullible society living in denial, that we cover our ears and pretend to deny the obvious? Steve McNair is no hero, no living legend, and certainly no real man.
Joseph Lopez is a talk radio producer, writer, and television producer living in Houston Texas. To contact Joseph, e-mail JosephRobertoLopez@gmail.com