The Steve McNair Tragedy: A Column

There is good on this planet and there is diabolical evil. When does life choose the meeting point? Good wins in spells but unfortunately there are moments where evil goes hard enough to snuff out the greatness of man in a fleeting yet horrific slice in time. In the space thereafter we are then left with a choice. A choice which is the origin of shaping and shifting a futuristic perspective. Because of the presence of evil, do we take the soul of a man and squash it into an assumed hellish abyss or do we properly advance history…documenting the total scope of his walk in full appreciation of his life?

This is for Steve McNair’s family. This is for his sons. This is for his life. This is for his legacy.

Call me an apologist. Call me idealistic. Call me whatever but respect me. Respect me for the job I was put on this earth to do. I see journalism differently. I cast no stones because the rock might blind the mirror before me. I want better. I do not want death. I do not want hurtful comedy. I do not want a wife’s cop call gasp. I do not want a child alone.

It is not me. It is not right. The hit piece is not my way of advancing the frame. Bad news is not good news and I hope every single editor is listening when I say stop that BS and find another way to make it.

Karma is a bitch.

It is not just a moment of cynical dance. When did the cynical concert win? Are we in a jet stream of all encompassing evil where good has to fight every single second of human existence just to stop a child’s future tear drop?

We are living in a time of total chaos. We are a selfish society. Some couldn’t care less about the livelihood of man as long as they aren’t personally affected. Some are objectified while others humanized depending on the emotional scale shaped by our experience. We hate. We love. We care. Graves we spit. We contradict. We bury dreams not ours. We see some as mascots living inside of our channel zero minds. We don’t think things through. We see what’s in front of our faces, cast it aside and move on to the next salacious and very guilty self hating pleasure at the expense of those who do not chase hate.

Everything I choose to write is not for now, but for a time long after all of us are gone. Because I am a Father, every word of my spirit is written for the souls of my great grandchildren.

They will be proud not out of arrogance but because I will make it so.

I care about life and choose to celebrate it. To write is to assume the responsibility of advancing an art continuum. How absurd is it to write for the ultimate decay of society where life falls incessantly without proper respect given?

I hope you don’t live your own lives emotionally detached because that would suck.

Sports is not just athletics or entertainment. Sports is a wormhole to appreciate hard work dedicated in the past, present and future. Hard work of an athletic dream that trades past generational insecurity for the diamond happiness living in a now Mother’s smile as your quarterback son runs 5 miles.

I want to see the incredible happen. I want to see the bomb down 6 with 00:01 on the clock and smell the turf as the receiver breaks…shakes…skates. I want to see Kevin Dyson score. I live and die in an 87-yard drive that stalls inside of the five.

Because my kids sat next to me with their 6 collective Christmas eyes wide.

Jason Whitlock wrote a column criticizing appreciation of Steve McNair’s life mere days after his shocking death. His column, in my opinion, is demoralizing, distasteful and soulless. When Steve McNair’s sons read such garbage, I hope they understand there are writers who will look past the current state of journalistic immorality and find the words kind to properly define time.

I put my career on the line to fight for what I think is right. I will not let Steve McNair’s family have his legacy diminished in the next influential minutes, days and years like so many have had theirs belittled in the past. There is more to the man than bad decisions which cost him a precious opportunity to see his sons become men.

Friends and colleagues of Jason Whitlock might not understand how a column of Jason’s affects not only the current state of objectifying strangers with malicious public wrath, but that of future talent not yet conceived.

Everything we do energizes the next moment. Don’t you care? Is it really just about you?

Where is the journalist scrutiny in the same mind that’s written of the athlete?

Are we that insecure as writers to not get called out for the words oh so scathing?

What is that? Please explain.

None of us are perfect, but a period of weakness and wrongdoing isn’t the end all be all just because others say so. On one hand we celebrate serial adulterers of whatever ilk for the sake of personal mental security, only to highlight the transgressions of others with a force so strongly demonic it snakes its way into the first paragraph of their obituary.

The grave spit.

A family is left behind and there is nothing we can do to bring Air back. I choose to remember him on the field in a Hall of Fame kinda way whether he’s enshrined or not.

Born on Valentine’s Day in 1973, the gift Air gave in return was his love for in game survival. While he mainly was a reticent personality, the fire that burned inside of him willed the Titans organization to another level and into more than just Music City Miracle lore. Eddie George, McNair, Keith Bullock, Jevon Kearse and Frank Wycheck, to name a few, are all of the same fiber and the hard work and leadership they demonstrated is why Tennessee loves its Titans. That’s very hard to do with a new franchise and because of that and if I had a vote, he gets in the HOF because of next level on and off field criteria transcendent of race.

Steve McNair deserves our protection. If we leave it to the public domain outside of TN, his legacy will fall to hell in a hand basket like the insecure tears some cry daily inside of their own lives.

Man up and survive in more than is you. Your life isn’t exclusive. There is no entitlement. Understand and your soul will be celebrated when you too in fact…die.

If we so celebrate Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley and President Kennedy then we also should celebrate Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke and Steve McNair for the same fallacies of man. They are human just like the rest of us despite their demise. This society is propped up by bringing down others, but how can we do so in either extreme if we never met these people? It’s not rational.

Bonds, Pitt, Jolie, Vick.

Figure it out.

There are those of us who make the same mistakes in our own lives. Make the distinction and let’s all get past this Roman Coliseum mob thought that will deteriorate the lives of our future.

Because I did not know him personally, this is how I choose to remember Steve McNair. I never interviewed him or spoke to him, so again, I do not know him. My history of him is on the football field, so I wanted to take it back to a time where his legacy was in its infancy.

This is not about death, but the origin of an athletic legacy forever locked in determination, strength and Hall of Fame talent.

I can’t judge him on his family life. There are too many questions. I can only go on what I know. What I know is that he was Titan on the field.

30 Responses to “The Steve McNair Tragedy: A Column”

  1. Tony McClean says:

    Whitlock is quite simply just another self-hating black man who has nothing better to do than to spew out this kind of bullshit so he can ingratiate himself with white folks who will do the very same thing to him when he has his own transgression. Guaranteed, he will be the next O.J.

  2. I feel you 100%.

    As for Whitlock – The Minstrel Show continues.

  3. Temple3 says:

    That’s where its at. (Sam Cooke)

  4. Jerold Wells Jr. says:

    I think the essence of what we do here at TSF – and what the truly great writers do effortlessly- is to give the truth in a way that folks like us can relate. I write things that my mom and dad can read and nod thier heads to. My pastor has read my work, one day my daughter will read these articles and know more about sports than she did before. We are a bridge to sports information.

    In reading Mizzo’s above piece, I can’t help but think THAT’S IT!!! If you watched the memorial service for Steve McNair (or even Michael Jackson for that matter) you know that there’s a big difference between what someone might write for attention and what reality is.

    Every single person in attendance at McNair’s memorial was aware of the circumstances surrounding his passing; Yet they celebrated his life.

    Again, you don’t have to condone the wrong in order to appreciate a man and send him off properly. You don’t have to give him undue praise or build him up to be something he wasn’t. Every teammate, friend and family member that knew Steve can give an account of who he was.

    At this point the garbage can be disposed of properly.

  5. SamsNeph says:

    Be careful about putting Sam on your “fallacies of man” list. While he was no angel, the circumstances of his death weren’t nearly as cut and dried as reported in 1964.

    Erik Greene
    Author, “Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family’s Perspective”

  6. Attancenark says:

    Where I can read about it?

  7. michelle says:

    Beautiful piece Miz. I have read some of the most hateful, ignorant crap. From that’s what he gets to he didn’t care about his kids. WTF???? People are so messed up. Then ones who have so much to say are often the ones with the most bones in their closet……..R.I.P. AIR!!

  8. Mizzo says:

    Thank you. Journalism has to advance. We’re stuck in a cracked mirrored rut out of fear. Cats are writing to an audience instead of what they truly stand for. The bar has been raised. Get it.

  9. mapoui says:

    jason whitlock….the guy who graduated to fox news from KC small town wrag!

    little time for such for as little as whitlock offers.

    yet on McNair, I wish he wasnt so human, so like me flawed, unthinking. if what I take to be true is in fact true. McNair could have freely loved that girl so much..even as he loved his wife…. that he took the time to understand her and to help her develop, to help her solve for her, the consequences of their relationship.

    I hear people talk about that type of people that Kazemi hails from as racist and murderous.

    true! but that aint all about them!

    if a blac man is going to be struck by the beauty of such women….especially a man like McNair… the extent of getting involved with one…..he better take the time t understand least to a functional extent.

    that girl appears to have loved Steve, gave him her all…and man that is something indeed.

    at 20-22 years of age, marriage and family would have been of great, basic importance to such as she, her family…from her traditions, religion etc.

    the problem immediately forms as clear as day. Steve got himself into a real soup, one he seems not to have not understood at all. unwittingly he may piled pressure on that girl, pressure he may not have fully understood, or that he was the cause of.

    steve had money. he should at the very least have made all the immediate financial problems that she had disappear.

    and he should have made whatever she wanted to do with her life professionally, a likelihood from a financial point of view. he should have encouraged her to build up a career, as is the desire of most in America.

    if he could not have married he, if he could not leave his wife ultimately, McNair should have found alternatives for her, to compensate for what she would have lost….or felt she would have lost… by being with him and for him.

    if he loved her he should have let it show fully and allow it for find full expression to her good and benefit, regardless…short of course, of the commitments he may have felt he could not have made.

    an Iranian woman is not an American blac..or white woman…. who may deal with such a situation differently, take it more into stride… although with any woman at all such a situation can be fraught.

    but there are no free lunches in life. everything must be dealt with in as much sophistication one can muster at all times. even when one makes deals with women, up front, all is clear and understood, complications can and usually do arise.

    I do not believe in monogamy although I was married for over 30 years to the same woman. its the hardest thing in the world to stay faithful.

    I do not see that monogamy as natural, at best an alternative that people can choose of their own free will, if that is what they want or how their situation develops.

    but until western society develops a way to incorporate sexuality in ways that cope successfully with a sexuality that permits all that people find functional, that does not transcend the laws of coercion, enslavement and crime generally….men..and women…who step outside the lines of conventionality must be prepared to cope with the process they initiate, with the intent of the best possible outcome of what they have chosen to do.

    McNair was a great quarterback, deserving of all the praise heaped on him. he may not have been as smart as he ought to have been dealing with the woman he chose to expand himself with.

    I hold nothing against the girl. I feel sorry for her, angry sort of, for I sense that Steve did not understand her, and as a result did not do justice by her.

    yet I hold nothing against Steve for I do not see anything about him that would have prepared him to understand such a woman.

    in the end I am just greatly disappointed I guess, hurt for what could have been…. disappointed at the loss of McNair…. and a in all probability, a fine, feeling, strongly committed and emotional young woman.

    they all could have been happy in the end, or at least reconciled with results that hurt no one materially, allowed everyone to advance materially….McNair, Kazemi, Mcnairs wife and family, Kazemis family.

    ( I did post here on the Starting Five previously, as Navin Lamervich ..and left in a huff because I felt I was being ignored.

    this McMair affair really hit me, so soon after Michael. I mean look at Steve, so tremendous, powerful, a sound blac male, 37 years of age. why must we lose him over love, a woman.

    why in the hell are we so, the way we are, with religions, traditions, class relations that divide rather than facilitate understanding?

    if for example we dealt with sexuality in a manner that recognized the problematic nature of monogamy…or America acknowledged the rest of the world as legitimate too, and spoke of openly and taught Americans about other cultures, to respect them….then not only such as McNair but all Americans wold know about cultural diversity and work out a method of some practical and positive sort, in dealing with members of the human race who are not traditionally American.

    were that the case we would likely still have McNair and his love interest of Iranian descent)

    I am not certain of the spelling of the name Kazemi..or if that is in fact her name

  10. SamsNeph says:

    My book can be found on or at my website,, Attancenark.

  11. Mizzo says:

    SamsNeph that was not about disrespecting Mr. Cooke. More about shedding light on how people are remembered. Thanks for coming.

  12. Eric Daniels says:

    Steve Mc Nair was a human being and to judge him on his personal life may be fair game on why he was dating a teenager who was mentally unstable but Whitlock was doing his typical ‘ racist red meat’ FOX NEWS style- reporting that they are so good at, Bill O’Reilly couldn’t wait less than 6 hours than to bash MJ’S blackness. It goes to say unless Black Folks develop an indpendent Black Press issues like this will continue.

  13. OffMainMedia says:

    I enjoyed this article on McNair. I am always searching for honest journalism, this site has that. The “holier than thou” attitude of the so called mainstream is frustrating. I agree that they write to accomodate the short news cycle and every human is worth a story that is relevant beyond the next “big” event.

  14. Miranda says:

    Thank you Mizz….that was beautiful, thought-provoking, everything that most mainstream writers (especially whitlock) are incapable of creating.

  15. Arlene says:

    Thank you, Mizzo, for a well articulated piece of journalism.

    Folks don’t realize the very pain, suffering, and mistakes are all apart of the creative genuis of an athlete, musician, actor, dancer,

    I like to focus on the play of my favoirite athletes Venus and Serena, on my favorite piece of music. I don’t want to know about the behind-the scenes stuff. I like to experience some mysteries in life. Just give me the finished product.

  16. Mizzo says:

    You’re welcome ladies. Thank you.

  17. SamsNeph says:

    I understand that’s how Sam Cooke is remembered, Mizzo, that was my point. Part of the reason why I wrote my book was to change that perception because in truth, his whole death was a set up–to some people in his inner circle, he was worth more dead than alive. Sam actually died because trying to hold on to what he had built, and that’s a far cry from dying in shame.

    I don’t sense any disrespect on your part, and like you said, that’s the perception of how he died. I just try to make people aware that there was a whole story BEHIND the story. Perception means a lot and when it’s negative it can be damning, as was true in Sam’s case.

  18. Kenme says:

    Thanks for being honest about the circumstances surrounding the Steve Mcnair’s tragedy.We are all humans and nobody is perfect but we should all remember that making poor decisions and judgement could cost us more than we can ever imagine.R.I.P Steve and Kazemi.

  19. Qiana M says:

    you certainly have an air of spirituality to your post about McNair, one that I can appreciate given the angle I took in my own post about Steve called Steve McNair:Flaws and All.Its so easy to judge a persons flaws especially when it comes to things like marriage and infidelity. While it is hard to be faithful it is a conscious choice like most things in life. Thank you for inviting me to share in your article. Its a breath of fresh air to run across writers who report the facts without being biased and aren’t afraid tell the truth in the process!

  20. i heard from A LOT of black women (and men) who appreciated m column on mcnair.

    one love,


  21. Mizzo says:

    They ain’t shit either.

  22. Would someone mind telling me why Steve McNair’s BAC is newsworthy since he was not operating a vehicle or firearm at the time of his death?

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