I haven’t really looked this morning but I assume others are already saying what I’ve been ruminating since I heard about the Steve McNair shooting. So let me say it now—I don’t think this is going to end well for McNair’s reputation.
After the news broke yesterday, ESPN radio was filled with people commenting on what a great guy McNair was. Steve’s brother, Fred, commented, “It’s still kind of hard to believe. He was the greatest person in the world. He gave back to the community. He loved kids and he wanted to be a role model to kids.”
All of which may be true. But I’ve become so jaded and cynical on celebrity deaths there’s simply no way for me to look at the facts as they’ve been presented so far and not conclude McNair was having an affair with the 20 year old Sahel Kazemi.
Here’s what we’ve been told so far: McNair and Kazemi knew each other from a restaurant the quarterback and his family frequented. There is a 2007 Cadillac Escalade registered to Kazemi AND McNair. Witnesses say McNair arrived at a condominium he owns between 1:30 and 2:00 am Saturday. They say Kazemi was already at the condo.
Those facts alone would put most marriages in serious jeopardy.
Hey, maybe Steve and Shahel were planning the church bazaar. There are as many acceptable scenarios as there are illicit scenarios.
McNair, though, was discovered with multiple gunshot wounds, one to head. Kazemi had been shot once.
Multiple gunshot wounds sounds like a crime of passion to me. If you’re stealing a DVD player and the family penny jar, you don’t inflict multiple gunshot wounds—you fire once or twice and flee.
Eddie George, the former Tennessee Titans running back, played with McNair and spoke on ESPN radio yesterday. He was filled with praise for McNair and the way he lived his life. I simply felt bad for Eddie. I wondered how he will feel if the foreshadowed circumstances come to fruition.
Am I bad person to think like this? In the middle of one family’s tragedy all I can do is imagine the consequences of purely hypothetical and tawdry events.
Adding to my self-loathing was my contempt for those who called, emailed and texted the ESPN radio host. Fans poured out the grief: “We’ll never forget Steve.” “This is such a sad loss for America.” “I’m devastated.”
Really? This is a guy who played football. If he hadn’t been a professional athlete we never would have heard of him. America’s fascination with playing the role of the drama queen is well documented. “How will we go on without Michael Jackson?” (Woe is me.) You’ll buy someone else’s music.
ESPN’s radio host at least had the most relevant reason to grieve—a 36 old man was shot to death. That is too young to die. Indeed it is. But I’m sorry, 36 year old black men are shot in this country by the dozen and there’s little outrage. The feigned grief over McNair’s soon-to-come-to-light Shakespearean ending is hypocritical–unless you want to use him as a public face for a national tragedy.
McNair’s death IS sad. But it’s not EXTRA sad because he was famous. WE are EXTRA sad because we apparently place more value on the life of the famous Steve McNair than on Laquinn Tucker, a 37-year-old black man, who was shot several times and died June 5.; or Steve Moore, a 39-year-old black man who was stabbed in the chest and died June 2; or Perry Wilson, a 36-year-old black man who was shot and died June 20.
The sad part is that, if my cynical, jaded prediction is correct, McNair’s actions will have brought about an extreme over-reaction from someone. He will have been in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. He will have fooled his family and friends. These are all very sad events.
I feel bad that I think like this, but honestly I don’t know how any relatively well-informed American could conclude otherwise, Truly, I hope I’m wrong. But aren’t we ALL sitting around today waiting for the other shoe to drop?
But let’s not make more of his death than it really is. One man. One sad story. One death. Let’s hide our hypocrisy and keep our self-indulgent grief to ourselves.