I don’t know Steve McNair. Never met him, never saw him play pro football in person. Great Tennessee Titan quarterback who came a yard short of tying a Super Bowl score in the last minute.
Everything I’ve read, seen and heard this past week has lauded McNair as a respected, greatly appreciated player, friend and teammate. No arguing there; his accomplishments speak for themselves.
Today I sat at a lunch table waiting to meet with a good friend & colleague, Paul B., who was running late. As I waited, on the restaurant HDTV were more ESPN details about McNair’s sudden death in Nashville. 4 gunshots. A homicide. 1 shot killing his girlfriend/mistress, Sahel Kazemi. Possible suicide. Ugly, nasty business.
I don’t want to see the crime scene footage, the bloody condo or the now revealed vacation photos of Steve and Sahel para-sailing on the Gulf of Mexico. Enough.
Sadly, McNair left behind a sweet wife and 4 great kids. Evidence is emerging of a secret life involving his affair with a former waitress. And that 20 yr old Kazemi believed McNair would seek a divorce to marry her. This is a tragic, brutal tale, for sure.
Death, loss, heartbreak. Everywhere.
Brought closer to home for me is that Los Angeles has more than its fair share of star athletes. In the past 30 years I’ve lived here I’ve run into numerous players that have won Super Bowls, NBA Championships and Stanley Cups. Had conversations with a few, especially those in hockey. Worked with athletes in TV, interviewing a star or two. But I have no one famous on speed dial.
Yet, my eyes have been neither naive or closed to star behaviour.
Used to have dinner at a place named Tripp’s in Century Century frequented by many L.A. Lakers at that time. Some were married – who, smoothly, talked to the ladies. Who cooed back. The wedding ring meant nothing.
A girlfriend of mine told of dates she had with a well known (married) Dodger, who proposed setting her up in an apartment as his mistress. She said NO.
Knew another woman who said she was constantly hit on by a major (married) NHL hockey player, who offered the same scenario of apartment/dating. He just finished playing for Detroit in the Stanley Cup playoffs this past June. She said NO. Good for her.
Had dinner on a winter’s evening years back at a late, great restaurant called Sanctuary (on Robertson Blvd) as a Lakers/Bulls game finished. Place filled up just with the rumor Michael Jordan was on his way over. The level of women who poured through the doors – as my buddy and I finished dessert – spoke volumes about the type of females who pursue star athletes. Not pretty, to be honest – neither the scene nor the beauty.
My point is that what athletes say on camera, to reporters and in public is one thing. But once they hit the clubs or the road is another. Not being judgmental here; but McNair having a dual life doesn’t really surprise me. Sorry. It just terribly saddens me – because of the outcome and victims.
A grieving wife will never have her husband back…and four young kids have now lost their father, forever. And, to be fair, the friends and family of Kazemi have lost her too.
Was a clandestine relationship really, truly worth it?