Sunday, July 5, 2009

Steve McNair, RIP

When the crawl at the bottom of the screen read, “Former Titans QB Steve McNair found dead of multiple gun shot wounds in Nashville apartment,” I was in absolute denial. Steve McNair wasn’t that guy. He couldn’t be THAT guy.

McNair’s story is as American as they come: a small college guy, with an incredible arm and toughness and determination not seen on the gridiron since Johnny Unitas, Bobby Lane or Joe Montana. Most people don’t even know where McNair played ball (it was Alcorn State in Mississippi) or that he was a Heisman Trophy candidate. Players and coaches respected him, communities and towns embraced him. He had poise and a natural likeability factor that many players in the NFL lack or simple don’t care about.

Steve McNair had poise and control on the field as well, taking the Tennessee Titans on an 87-yard march down the field to almost beat the St. Louis Rams in 2000. If only the field were 98 yards instead of 100, we would be talking about a Super Bowl champ cut down at the age of 36.

We have heard repeatedly of how people like Plaxico Burris and other NFL players (and even coaches) have been charged with illegal firearm possession, illegal weapon discharge, illegal sale of firearms, etc. Players will say it’s a necessity to be armed in the NFL, fearing for their and their families' safety. Players fear being robbed, and arming themselves is a necessary evil of the seedy underbelly of making guaranteed millions in the NFL. Players recall how Sean Taylor of the Redskins was fatally shot during a robbery attempt at his home in 2007.

But Steve McNair didn’t fit the mold of someone who hung out in questionable company, didn’t go clubbing and get into brushes with the law like Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson or Dante Stallworth. But as the investigation into his death deepens and more is learned about Steve McNair’s death, questions bubble up about his character.

The Associated Press reported that, “the death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair raised questions Sunday about his relationship with the 20-year-old woman whose body was found alongside him in his downtown condominium.

McNair…who was married with four children, was found Saturday with multiple gunshot wounds on a sofa in his living room. The woman was killed by a single gunshot wound and a pistol was discovered near her, police said.
Authorities didn't immediately say who was to blame for the killings, but they weren't looking for any suspects.”

Steve McNair was an all-American story, tragically cut down on an all-American holiday – July 4th, 2009.

May he rest in peace as authorities search for answers that many of us have surrounding his tragic death.

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