Professional athletes are stuck in the eye of the public 24/7. How they handle it, well, that’s up to them. Many kids look up to these athletes as role models because they’re making a living doing what they love and have a passion for. Some of these supposed “role models” take their personal situation for granted and don’t spread the wealth to the community.
Guys getting locked up, shooting off their mouths about other players in the league, complaining about coaches – this isn’t what I’d want my kids to be following. The game is about passion, hardwork, intelligence, and toughness. The perfect model of those attributes: Steve McNair.
McNair’s love for football, especially the quarterback position, extended beyond all. Right out of high school, Steve was drafted by the Seattle Mariners baseball organization, but wanted to pursue his passion of football instead. He was recruited by many large programs, the likes of Nebraska and The Ohio State University, whom all wanted him to play defensive back.
Instead, he decided to go to Alcorn State where he was offered to play the quarterback position. After setting many records at his Division I-AA school, McNair was drafted third by the Houston Oilers in the 1995 draft making him the highest drafted black quarterback in NFL history at that time.
Through thirteen seasons of hardwork for the Oilers, Titans, and Ravens, McNair established himself as a household name in the NFL. There aren’t many other players, let alone quarterbacks, who could take the type of punishment he did on a regular basis and just keep getting after it. Not only was he a model quarterback, but he was also a model person to the world.
Through acts such as starting The Steve McNair Foundation, donating to the Boys & Girls Club, and his help with Hurricane Katrina relief, he always tried to find a way to bring positive light to our youth and give back everything he had earned.
Over the past few years, the NFL has been in the public’s eye through many negative events. From misdemeanor crimes, felony crimes, players ridiculing each other through the media. All of this has made it hard for anybody to focus on the positive ways the league and players try to reach out to the public. Hopefully the league can start advertising more of the positive before it’s too late for anybody to recognize. Recently the NFL lost a great player and the world lost even a greater man, RIP Steve “Air” McNair.