tclakin

RIP, Steve “Air” McNair

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2009 at 11:35 am
Air McNair is his Oiler days

Air McNair is his Oiler days

I thought I’d wait a few days for this post – let all the details sort themselves out before commenting on the situation. Well, today the picture has finally crystallized, and we’re left with a grisly evocation of Steve McNair’s final hours. The awful truth – one much speculated over the last few days – has emerged:

Steve McNair was killed in his sleep, dead at 36; the victim of a murder-suicide at the hands of his girlfriend, 20 year-old Sahel Kazemi.

It’s very sad, really, a situation like this. It’s sad and it’s troubling and it goes against all we thought we knew about the former NFL MVP. Unfortunately, in death, McNair has become drastically more complicated than he ever was in life.

McNair starred at Alcorn State

McNair starred at Alcorn State

As a professional football player, McNair was known as a gritty leader of men, a warrior, an old school force, unafraid to gut it out through pain and injury. He was a true gamer, and a very good quarterback at his peak. He was a strong character in a sea of ne’er-do-wells, and a role model that kids could look up to.

Off the field and in retirement McNair’s reputation was just as sterling. He was a tremendous presence in the community, a charitable giver, and an all-around Good Guy. He was a loyal friend. He was a family man, a devoted father of 4 sons and a doting husband to wife Mechelle.

So, naturally, it comes as a shock to the system when a guy like that is found shot to death next to a 20 year-old girl.

And as the sordid details continue to emerge – mounting financial troubles, a young girlfriend, the rumor of another affair – we’re presented with the difficult challenge of how exactly to remember McNair.

How do we mourn an imperfect man?

Does an ignoble death soil a lifetime of good works?

These questions and others will haunt the public as the McNair story continues to play out. It’s a difficult situation – confusing, and often contradictory. It’s strange, then, that we’re confronted with this moral ambiguity so soon after the sudden death of another beloved, but troubled, icon. Both men have left behind unanswerable questions of the sort that linger like smog over a legacy.

But, the way I see it, death acts as a cleansing mechanism for men like this. Many would disagree. But as far as I can tell, in life, everyone has strengths and everyone has flaws. We do great things and we fail. We’re good and we’re bad. Everyone falls at least once. Some fall harder than others, certainly, but when the lights go out, I choose to remember the good. Why not? There’s no use spitting on someone’s grave. You’re only watering the grass.

So rest in peace, Steve McNair. I’m sad to see you go.

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