Respect the Dead

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The community has been rocked twice on both ends of the entertainment spectrum with both Michael Jackson and Steve McNair passing away. While McNair was nowhere near the star that Michael Jackson was, his age and the shocking circumstances surrounding his death have left even the most casual sports fan glued to their computer for more information.

Despite the various controversies surrounding both men, the reaction of the general public has been pretty respectful toward both of the deceased.

The media? Well, that's a different story.

No doubt, Michael Jackson has gotten a ton of attention and everyone has an opinion.

Off top, Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. I'm really sick of people slapping that "self-proclaimed" qualifier on his King of Pop title. The man had more talent than probably every artist currently on the Billboard charts excluding himself. His music knew no bounds and touched the hearts of people from other countries who could not even understand the words.

But what about the children? Well, say what you will, but although I found his views on children to be disturbing, I don't think Michael did anything sexual with any of the boys. And the disturbing aspects for me was more toward how sad Michael's life must have truly been.

Jackson, at least from the view here on my couch, didn't surround himself with children for sexual reasons. He did it not only because he never had a childhood, but also because the kids were likely the only people in his life who just treated him like a person and not some thing.

While media pundits are quick to add in the whole "self-proclaimed" label to Jackson, its what they leave out that bugs me most. He was never found guilty of anything in a criminal court. Yes, he settled a civil suit, but rich white people do stuff like that literally all the time and no one brings it up anymore.

Jackson, for all his talents, was a very also a man deeply hurt by both the stardom he achieved starting from his childhood and the harsh treatment by his father. Go back and listen to him talk about people staring at him as he walked in stores and his father ridiculing him because his nose was "too big." It is really no wonder that the man had wrestled with so many issues.

Some of my circle are quick to jump on me and say "what if it was my child?" Well, that's a real easy one.

My kid would not have been over there without me present and maybe not even then. Period.

As for Steve McNair, this one really hit me off guard. It has been very hard for me to really formulate thoughts on this one as I wrestling with the guy I idolized in college and the mistake that cost him his life.

I remember seeing McNair play in college as I also attended a school in the SWAC. I had never seen a guy play like that and I'm not sure if I have seen anyone else display that kind of ability on the college level. McNair always came across as good, humble guy. He was beloved in Mississippi and had a large presence in the community.

He was also, apparently, an adulterer.

McNair was apparently carrying on a relationship with a girl almost half his age and it looks like that mistake cost him his life. For everyone who tries to take the high road and simply choose to remember the good things about McNair, there are others who insist that this transgression tarnishes his legacy, blah, blah, blah...

I guess.

Look, McNair was not the first nor the last man to go out and date a younger woman. I literally can not name all the politicians who have been caught in the middle of the same scandals.

I say this not to minimize adultery. McNair was wrong and I think everyone knows that.

But, the man appears to have paid for his mistake with his life. His sons will be fatherless. His wife appears to be completed blindsided and stunned. The family of the young lady seems to be equally shocked. All these people now have to pick up the pieces and try to move on with their lives.

I think that that is more than enough of a price to pay for making a mistake. There is really just no need to pile on here. If this event changed your opinion of McNair, and it probably did, that is pretty understandable. However, I can do without people jumping up and spitting out some self-righteous bullshit. Again, there are just far too many examples of people being exposed for taking the moral high ground on an issue that they were also failing to live up to.

Respect the dead folks.

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