Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A few last words on Steve McNair --

mcnairIf you're single and in your mid-30s, it doesn't matter who you go out with. Whatever you do is between you and your partner and that's the way it should be. On the other hand, if you're a married man with four children, you have responsibilities to provide more than just money. Now, don't get me wrong, in this economy, providing money is plenty but it isn't the whole story. The children need guidance.
Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star rightly pointed out the true tragedy. McNair's four children. Four young boys were denied a father because Steve McNair was not focused on what was most important in his life. It really doesn't matter what was going on between Steve McNair and his wife. What matters is that McNair did not put himself in position to be around for the long haul.

I spent a lot of time recently thinking about affirmative action and the black community. The Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. For nearly 20 years minorities and women made huge strides into closing the quality gap. Something happened around 1980. I'm not saying that it was just Ronald Reagan. Instead, I think it was an atmosphere of hostility towards affirmative action and also towards unions which together has helped to cripple the black community. (Of course, there are other factors. There are internal problems in the black community which are very critical to retarding personal growth but, for now, I'm focusing on external problems.)

I do not have any statistics but I would bet that a large percentage of union jobs were held by blacks. As Reagan and the rest of the conservatives waged war on unions, blacks lost jobs in droves. Wall Street applauded as large corporations shipped union jobs overseas. This devastated the black community. Hundreds of thousands of black men without jobs. There were no prospects on the horizon. Many of them for various reasons become incarcerated in large numbers or fell into low wage dead-end jobs.

Against this backdrop, we have Steve McNair. He's just completed a highly successful 14 year career as an NFL quarterback. The number of black NFL quarterbacks can be counted on two hands since the inception of the league more than 70 years ago. McNair had an obligation to guide his young boys through the hazards that afflict all young Americans but especially those that have ensnared so many young black men. All McNair had to do was to stay on the path. He had made it out of the inner city (da' hood). Imagine being a multimillionaire. You have every creature comfort you need. Your only job is to be a husband and father. That's it. (I'm not saying that being a husband and father are easy. I'm not saying that being Steve McNair was easy. I'm saying that he made it through the tough parts.) You can't tell me that McNair wasn't on Easy Street.

I hope that Steve McNair's sons find a new role model. Role models are so hard to find these days -- especially in the black community.

What a real tragedy.


The Angry Independent said...

Terrible story. I passed on it because it seems to be so typical (not necessarily the killing, but the circumstances around it).

This has become the norm. Most of these rich pro-athletes run around with different women. Their marriages are usually phony to start with..... with these women who marry them for their money. Most of the women who are involved with these men are the "Real Housewife"/all about money women....(a nice way of saying what I won't say,lol)...or they are the groupies.

You basically have 2 types of Black pro-athlete.... #1. The Reggie White, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Ozzie Smith, AC Green (amazing early story w/ Green) family men who are in the minority.... or #2. The playboy or thug athletes.... whom I despise. These are your Kobe Bryants, your Iverson's, D. Sanders (early in his career)....even Michael Jordan could probably fall into this group...although (like many) he had one foot in each of these worlds...trying to play both roles...so he fits the mold..although to a lesser degree. But nearly all of these men either have/had NFL, NBA, MLB trophy wives OR they have trophy groupies on the side who they screw around with. That whole sub-culture is so disgusting and vain to me... almost like modern day prostitution in a sense. That doesn't apply to all the pro-athlete wives and mistresses...but I'd say it's the majority. What do women look for when they dress up and go to certain night spots in big cities? We all know what they want. They are hoping to hook up with these men. To the women...it's like playing the Lotto. But what is it really??????

I don't have much sympathy for these people or their lifestyles... that includes the women involved. It's bad enough that they have much more money than they deserve or that they even know what to do with (while i'm struggling just to survive on my low wages). But I do feel sorry for the kids....in the case of McNair, the kids will grow up reading all sorts of salacious, and negative reports about their father....unavoidable in the age of the internet. Not a good legacy to leave behind.

For some reason I thought McNair was different. He didn't seem to fall into the default category.... I thought he was one of the few pro athletes who wasn't a playboy. I thought he was in that minority of more traditional family men. That doesn't seem to be the case.

I was shaking my head at the people praising this guy as a great family man and hero before all the facts were in. I immediately suspected something fishy... because I thought (hey...isn't he married?). According to media reports (not confirmed)....his wife had no idea... she found out about the cheating at the same time she found out he was killed). Horrific!

rikyrah said...


It depends upon the Unions. If you're talking auto, steel, manufacturing, yes, Blacks had a nice chunk of those jobs.

If you're talking construction-related, and trade, NO. And, just as we might have had someone willing to put the pressure on the unions to open up, in came Reagan, who wasn't interested in Civil rights.

As for McNair, I feel for his wife and children. What a damn waste over a piece of ass - plain and simple.

Andre said...

Good post, EC. However, I often find myself torn on whether youth need fathers as much as they need fatherly figures. I think there's a difference.

As much as I love my dad and as much as I appreciate him financially keeping our home in tact as I was growing up, I'd have to say that other men were equally as instrumental in shaping my life and my values system. If it was up to my dad, my brother and I would have followed in his footsteps as shop rats. We were supposed to go directly to the shop after finishing high school. My sisters were supposed to be housewives. Even later on in life my dad has expressed his regrets for not placing more emphasis on education. Instead, there were other men outside of my household who sold the importance of education; who exposed me to a life outside of General Motors. Simply put, role models don't have to be biological. I know that's not what you're implying in this post; but I often hear a lot of rhetoric on this topic which tends to point solely at the DNA dad.

Heartless as this may sound, I think McNair's four boys might have been better off receiving guidance from other men than they would've received from McNair in his current state.

ecthompson said...

thanks for the great comments.

Angry independent -- I hate to say it but you are probably correct. The Black pro athlete do seem to fall into two separate categories. You've described them well. It is sad that more the athletes don't fall into the first category.

Rikyrah - well stated

Andre -- on one hand, I think you're exactly correct that it is important for young men, especially young Black men to have father figures -- role models. The role model does not necessarily have to be your father. On the other hand, is really your father's duty to be that role model. If your father can't live up to that obligation, that is truly sad. Personally, I've had a number of role models in my life. Yet, my father, a physician, was by far the best and most influential in spite of the fact he was gone a lot of the time.

I do appreciate your personal insight.