No matter what shortcomings Steve McNair may have had in his personal life, his enduring legacy as an athlete will be his courage and toughness on the football field. In an era where overpaid athletes remove themselves to the DL for the most minor of injuries, Air McNair was never one to let his team down. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis shared that trait with McNair, and perhaps it explains why the two men were close friends as well as teammates in Baltimore.
It’s understandable that Lewis was distraught over his friend’s untimely death, and it must have been tough for him to speak at McNair’s funeral in Mississippi today. By all accounts, McNair was a decent- if flawed - human being and a great teammate. Still, comparing him to Jesus Christ might have been just a wee bit too much.
Let’s turn to fancypants NBC SPORTS property PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM, where Mike Florio was doing his Florio thing:
Lewis has reportedly had a difficult time with McNair’s passing, and has not been heard from publicly before speaking at the service Saturday. At one juncture, he encouraged McNair’s sons to be proud of their father.
“He left a legacy. The same way when Jesus left, because he had to sacrifice for all of us. Y’all father put out one heck of a sacrifice, young men. Everytime y’all walk out the door, hold your head up high. Because he left something that a lot of men can’t father.”
Again - we understand that Lewis is probably having a tough time right now, so it’s unfair to nail the words of a grieving friend. But let’s be honest - McNair’s death, while tragic, does not really serve as any sort of salvation for all mankind. Making him a martyr or holding up his murder as some sort of selfless sacrifice does no good for anyone, including his now-fatherless children.