Sunday, July 5, 2009

Commentary: The Death of Steve McNair

As a general rule of thumb, I don't like to comment on situations where all of the facts are not in, so bear with me as I bend that rule to say a few things about the death of Steve McNair. First off, while I am not surprised that Nashville news crews were camped out all day and all night at the scene of the crime, I am surprised that they stayed on the air for so many hours, essentially repeating a variation of the mantra, "We don't know anything we haven't already reported." That was especially true on Saturday and it became almost ridiculous when the powers that be decided to keep doing what are called live shots from the scene, even during an incredible downpour of rain. The same information could have been imparted from the studio, but the 21st century television newsroom must constantly remind their viewers that someone is actually on location at a news event. That includes having a crew set up outside an empty building before daylight Sunday morning, long after police and curious bystanders had moved on. What was the point? Was it to show that the building where the crime took place hadn't collapsed overnight?

But enough about my colleagues in the media. It was reported by Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron that Steve McNair was in a dating relationship with the woman who was found dead with him, 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi. Kazemi's aunt told one reporter that she thought a third person was involved in the shootings because "she would never kill anyone, ever. Or anything. Not even a little bug. I want people to know that." The aunt also said that Kazemi was under the impression that McNair was in the process of getting a divorce. And here's where I will get out my soapbox. Even if that's true, it doesn't matter. Married people should not be involved with single people and vice versa. I've known many individuals (mostly women) who have involved themselves with someone who was still married. Some of them didn't care about the marital status of their lover, some of them were being lied to about the status of said marriages, but in every case there was a legal, and I would argue a moral, connection between the married person and his or her spouse. Until that connection is severed, the would-be divorcee should remain unattached.

And one final thought, borrowed from John Wayne's character in the movie "The Cowboys." In one scene, he says: "Death can come for you anyplace, anytime. It's never welcome, but if you've done all you can do and it's your best, in a way I guess,] you're ready for it." Steve McNair certainly did his best in his professional life. One can only speculate on how he was handling his personal life.