Steve McNair Would Have Been 48 Years Old Sunday, His Legacy Remains A Complicated One

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The date was July 4th, 2009, and for the most part it was a normal national holiday complete with cookouts, fireworks and get togethers.

By the end of the day though, it was a holiday that no one would ever forget, a date filled with sad memories, tragedy, and a double murder/suicide that seemed to leave more questions than answers.

Everyone remembers the player in question who was a victim of a double murder/suicide: NFL quarterback Steve McNair.

McNair, who had already retired from the sport in 2007 after a career that was filled with amazing success but also a lot of pain, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head by his girlfriend Sahel Kazemi, who then turned the gun on herself.

While it’s a sad case that should never have reached that point, it’s even sadder when you realize that McNair was actually married to Mechelle McNair and that the couple had four children together.

“She’s blindsided by this. She’s crushed. Her whole world is shattered,” a source told the New York Daily News after McNair was killed.

Here it is now 12 years later, and it’s still tough to try and figure out how to celebrate McNair’s legacy.

It seems that part of his legacy focuses just on his football career, which included a league MVP award in 2003 and a trip to the Super Bowl in 1999.

However, his personal life was much more complicated. At the time of his death, his wife wasn’t even aware that he was having an affair.

How the NFL chooses to celebrate McNair has always been hotly debated, and in just over a decade, the league is now officially referring to him as “great”:

The league produced one of its A Football Life documentaries about McNair. The episode deals with the fact that McNair was killed while having an affair, but that he also had a career on and off the field that saw him do plenty of things right.

Celebrating the life of McNair offends some, and there are plenty of fans who say that the league should not celebrate a player who was killed during a case of adultery.

Then there are those who say that the ex-quarterback simply made a mistake, and that it would be wrong to disregard all of the good that McNair did for his family and the community.

Various media outlets mostly just state the news that today would have been McNair’s 48th birthday, leaving it to people to decide on their own how McNair should be celebrated.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."


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  1. I mean what??? It’s not as if the guy was running a criminal enterprise or killed puppies. What are we talking about. This is not how you do things. There isn’t a person alive that you couldn’t write they were great but…… he was a human. He wasn’t perfect period. Celebrate what made him extraordinary above the average person. Not the bad that made him human.

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