Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Very Long Week

Wow, what a week it's been for us here in Music City and I'm talking about the entire city. At the time of this writing it's been a week to the very hour that we first learned of the former NFL Titans quarterback Steve McNair's shooting death on July 4th. That'll go down in history as a very sad day for all of Nashville.

Throughout the week there's been non-stop news coverage of Steve's death and all the speculation, condemnation and ridiculous accusational rumors that go along with it. Quite honestly, it's become somewhat numbing.

McNair's family laid him to rest just a few hours ago near his hometown in Mount Olive, Mississippi. Hopefully, along with that the city of Nashville can begin to close this chapter of sadness and move on. Certainly, with no disrespect to the family, it's time that we need to talk about something else. We need to rejuvenate our senses and put a foot forward in the healing process but unfortunately I can't do that until I first express my own anger and displeasure with one particular incident that took place Friday afternoon regarding the McNair murder/suicide.

I'm a fairly regular listener to a local radio station here in Nashville that's primarily dedicated to sports coverage 24 hours a day. That's alot of sports. So much so that the station has to pick up programming from national syndicated shows during different time slots in order to fill the required daily coverage. One of those shows is the Jim Rome Show which is broadcast live from Los Angeles. Rome is known for his unusual but "hip" delivery. He's also known for taking a lot of vacation time. He says he "takes a lot of vacation time because he gets a lot of vacation time". I guess I would too.

Rome took a week of vacation this past week and had several different guest hosts sitting in for him, one of which is a sports columnist named Jason Whitlock. Whitlock, a Kansas City Star and columnist is known for his controversial opinions and has his share of critics. I personally have never cared for his work and yesterday he more than solidified that for me as well as most anyone within earshot of Nashville that was effected by the Steve McNair situation. Even those who haven't followed the murder/suicide probably were uncomfortable if they were listening to Whittlock's commentary on Friday afternoon.

During the second hour radio segment Whitlock did a commentary on McNair being a bad husband and father. By all accounts we know that Steve loved his family especially his four boys. Just before the end of the segment Whitlock, who boasts of being unapologetic, brought in an "unexpected guest" that was suppose to be a former assistant coach to Steve McNair during his days at Alcorn State. The guest went into a question and answer session with Whitlock and told about fictitious events regarding McNair's "legendary tail chasing" days at Alcorn State. The segment was obviously a parody but it was done in such poor taste and total disregard to the respect of the McNair family who hadn't yet even had a chance to bury Steve. It was disgusting. Certainly, I don't condone what Steve did in his personal affairs but at the same time I can't imagine anyone using their public status as a platform of criticism in such a poor illmannered taste and then laugh it off. I only hope that Steve's family didn't catch wind of Whitlock's garbage attempt at humor.

The question I have is do we have such little regard for one's life or the great things that someone has done for so many simply be degraded like Whitlock did to McNair in a single moment and that it's OK do that without any backlash? I hope not. Our local radio station made a public apology to the McNair family and to the City of Nashville as well as made complaints to the program directors of the Jim Rome Show. It'll be interesting to see what angle the show takes in regard to Whitlock's outlandish remarks. I'll be tuning in Monday to see what Jim Rome says. I think he's a very professional reporter and will be disappointed that his show was used in such a sick manner Friday afternoon. We'll wait and see. Until then, it's my hope that we can remember what number 9 did on the field and his tireless efforts to help people less fortunate in the community. That's the Steve McNair that we want to remember.

Rest in peace Steve.

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