Posted by: drewdice | July 12, 2009


One of the many recent passings was quarterback Steve McNair of the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens.

While I am an avid football fan, I can say that I didn’t follow McNair’s career too closely until he came to Baltimore. During the time that he led our Ravens, I’d give him high grades on heart, strength, courage, class, leadership, professional demeanor, community conduct and philanthropic participation. The team and city rallied around McNair, and in one of his two seasons as our quarterback, we had a strong chance to make it to the Super Bowl. Although his time in Baltimore was short, the impact he had on our team and city was pronounced.

The details of his recent death lead me to this current posting. There has been much discussion on sports radio, television and in the general press about what the circumstances of his death do to his legacy. There are those that are of the opinion that because he was unfaithful to his wife and family, this tarnishes his overall reputation, including his on the field accomplishments. There are others who feel that the two areas of his life are very separate, and that the public should not let his off the field indiscretions impact the way he is viewed as a football player.

I don’t know that this is a cut and dry issue. Outside of sports, there are many individuals, I am sure, who are upstanding citizens (business, community or otherwise) who are role models in many ways, and who also are guilty of unethical or immoral behavior. The question with which I currently wrestle is: what do I (what should we) make of this, and how does it, or should it, impact how we view these individuals?

What I understand is this: people have basic human needs. Depending on who you have read, needs include significance, variety, certainty, and connection, (those 4 are from Tony Robbins) among other things. One could create the argument that McNair, and others, infidelity is his way of achieving significance and variety, which are basic needs. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely do not condone infidelity, and that does tarnish my view of McNair as a human being. In my opinion, however, that does not impact my view of his on fhe field accomplishments. What I do believe is that each of us has a responsibility to find ethical, moral and fulfilling ways to satisfy our needs.

For someone of McNair’s stature, I could create the scenario that he was used to being in the public limelight, the glamour and buzz of the public eye, all that comes with being and NFL star. Now retired, he may have been struggling to achieve that feeling of significance; may have been missing the variety the comes with training, mini-camps and preparation for an NFL season. Maybe professional atheletes and other celebrities need more help, coaching, guidance and development on their “other selves”; the ones that exist out of the limelight. The ones that have families, community commitments and responsibilities that exist when the cameras are off.

I can separate my feelings for McNair the athelete and McNair the family man (and others like him). Right now, I reflect on the good career and impact he had on the NFL, his teammates, the fans and the game. I feel sorry for him that he couldn’t accomplish the same level of success in his family life, and even more, I feel sorry for his widow, his children, and the communities that looked up to him as a model family man. I understand potentially how he got there, and have to think that we, as individuals, need to be stronger, more aware, and more supported to live better, more fulfilled lives.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic



  1. great thoughts!

  2. It is easy to jump to conclusions when we witness media reporting purient details of celebrities’ lives (and deaths). Truly, especially in this situation, we do not know all the facts. Maybe McNair’s wife was cheating on him too, for example. Maybe McNair and the 20-year-old woman were merely friends but she had a different scenario in her head. In any event, I personally believe Pete Rose was one of the greatest baseball players ever despite his less-than-noble activities off the field. McNair was an amazing football player, gave back to the community and brought joy to millions of people. I CHOOSE to remember that.

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