It doesn’t seem to me like it should be all that big of a deal.
Initially, it apparently didn’t seem like that big of a deal to Steve McNair either. That was, of course, until a fair number of people in the Nashville area reacted as if McNair went door to door and slapped the face of everybody in Davidson County. A little bit of the story:
Nestor Aparicio, a former Baltimore sports journalist and blogger, put together a Ravens party at Limelight to benefit the Baltimore chapter of the Ronald McDonald House and the Steve McNair Foundation (money would stay right here in Middle Tennessee). A CHARITY EVENT, mind you. According to Aparicio, McNair knew what the deal was, and was scheduled to do some press for it as well. A flyer for the event began to circulate online (the flyer at the top of your screen), and was picked up by WKRN and The City Paper in Nashville. Steve McNair was a traitor.
There was a huge amount of backlash, and McNair quickly backpedaled into damage control mode. Local sports radio was abuzz, fans were livid and former teammates were puzzled. Former Titan Chris Sanders had this to say:
It can’t be so. I’m speechless for the first time. For all my 36 years of living I’m speechless. But if it’s for charity, well, I’m still speechless, because of the way that Ray Lewis hit him [in the 2000 playoff game]… I’m looking for the cameras [in my house] to say, ‘Gotcha, Chris.
Well actually Chris, I think A) maybe your thinking about some Eddie George hits, and B) you might remember that Steve McNair retired as a teammate of Ray Lewis. And believe it or not, they were actually friends and quite vocal supporters of each other.
It looked as if McNair had backed out of the event, and his manager, Raymond White, offered this statement:
There’s not a guy more loyal to the Titans than Steve McNair. He has given his body, blood and bones to the Titans. He has given more body parts than anybody for the Titans. Steve isn’t doing this. He is never going to host a pep rally for the opposing team. He is 100% Titans. They just asked if we could come by. We didn’t agree to any of this. He wants to help the foundation, but Steve is not going to do this. He is not going to be a part of a Raven pep rally. Get real. We’re 100% Titans. Steve is 100% Titans. He played with the Ravens because the Titans didn’t want him any more.
All right, Raymond we get it. Steve will always be loyal, because the Titans have always been loya… wait a minute. What was that last line again? Oh yeah, HE PLAYED WITH THE RAVENS BECAUSE THE TITANS DIDN’T WANT HIM ANY MORE. I don’t know whether or not he meant to say that, but it makes my point for me.
Steve McNair is never a Raven (guiding them to a 13-3 record, and playoff bye, mind you) if the Titans don’t lock him out of training camp, not even letting him work out at team facilities fearing an injury will effect the guaranteed money owed to him. Once it was apparent that their only trade partner would be the Ravens, they traded him to the Ravens. This completely makes sense. Don’t, though, be upset that he still has numbers in his cell phone with a 410 area code.
Steve McNair was the face of the Titans franchise, and the Titans gave him one of the most dishonorable exits that I’ve ever seen. To my knowledge, at no point during or after this process did Steve McNair ever make a single negative statement about the Titans, and that my friends is a credit to character. How he could be seen as the bad guy is ridiculous.
Now that I’ve gone off on my tangent, it looks like McNair will host the rally (good). WKRN has issued this statement from McNair:
This is a charity event I’m doing for the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore and that’s it. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Ravens or the Titans. I’m gonna be there because I’m not gonna disappoint these kids. People want to say it’s about the Ravens, it’s not about the Ravens. It’s not about Tennessee. It’s about these kids from the Ronald McDonald House and I can put a smile on their face. If this taints my image I’m going to be very disappointed because that’ll tell me that people [do not] care about me raising money to help kids. That’s selfish.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Steve.
One Last thing. I really take McNair at his word, but you couldn’t blame him if he was a Ravens fan.