The Tennessee Titans take on the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game to kick off the NFL preseason on Sunday, and aside from the always delightful antics of Terrell Owens, viewers will also be greeted by this: A decal on the Titans’ helmets honoring the late Steve McNair.
The Titans, in fact, wanted to honor their former quarterback with a uniform patch, but the league had already committed to patch honoring the 50th anniversary of the American Football League, and they can’t have two. But now comes the question that the Titans probably never thought they’d have to answer: Does McNair deserve such an honor? Many, even including some Titans fans, are saying no.
From THE TENNESSEAN:
McNair, shot and killed July 4, wore No. 9 while playing from 1995-2005 with the organization. He threw for 27,141 yards and 156 touchdowns as a Titan and was the league’s co-MVP in 2003.
The Titans are also working on other ways to honor McNair this season. Last season he was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor at LP Field.
One would think that even the more unforgiving and churlish denizens of message board land would give this one a pass. McNair wasn’t much of a role model in some aspects of his life, but he did mean a lot to many people, and the tragedy of his passing shouldn’t really be ignored; at least that’s what Titans officials are thinking. Many, however, are not sympathetic.
From the NBCSPORTS.COM message board:
- You mean: “McNair, who was married at the time, was shot and killed by his girlfriend. The Titans nonetheless will honor the passing of this lothario, who reneged on his wedding vows and ruined his children’s life by hooking up with a 20-year-old, whacked-out floozie.” — reality12
- I agree w/ realityonetwo. The Titans are glorifying a man who wasn’t exactly a hero. What kind of example is this guy to kids? Why not put a Mike Vick logo on Titans uniforms while you’re at it? His death was completely avoidable - all he had to do was NOT CHEAT ON HIS WIFE! — givensr2
- Perfect example of why kids should NOT look at professional athletes as role models. What kind of message is this sending to kids? — gameday
And from THE TENNESSEAN message board:
- Why are they honoring someone who cheated on his wife and kids? — sw9ve
- Why don’t the Titans just put adulterer on the back of all the jerseys, and create an admirer of adulterers section in the stadium for those who salute men who died in disgrace. McNair died an adulterous drunken man. That will be his legacy. Those who promote it set a bad example for young men to follow. — HotTub
- I have every respect for the dead, but none for so-called “men” who cheat on their families. — sw9ve
Of course, McNair has plenty of defenders mixed in there as well. But the number and volume of the naysayers surprised me. That’s harsh, you guys.