McNair provides important reminder
A little over a year ago, I met Steve McNair.
Then with the Baltimore Ravens, the quarterback had come to Oklahoma City to support the inaugural Mark Clayton Foundation Charity Weekend. Clayton, the former Oklahoma Sooner receiver, had enlisted the help of numerous players, and McNair was one of the two dozen or so to come to Clayton’s aid.
Knowing that McNair had a long track record of charity work, I wanted to interview him and he was more than happy to talk. We chatted for a couple of minutes, and later, I wrote this in a piece that I wrote about NFL players giving their offseason time to charity work:
“Mark has accepted the responsibility that life is bigger than him,” the Baltimore quarterback said Friday night at the Winner’s Circle VIP Reception, which kicked off Clayton’s charity weekend. “He’s fortunate to be in a position where he can go and help other people. When you have that sense of responsibility … you’re willing to do that.”
McNair has been willing for a decade. That’s how long his foundation has been providing for different charities near and dear to his heart, including United Way and Special Olympics.
He won the NFL Players Association’s top award for service to team and community in 2005.
“A lot of people see all the negative things that NFL players do … but they don’t see what we try to do positive,” McNair said.
Because McNair was giving of his time and resources to charity work, that made him even more of a role model. But with his murder over the weekend, we are once again reminded that just because athletes are talented on the field and generous in the charity world isn’t indicative of everything about their character.
McNair had a wife and four children, but he also had a girlfriend who he lavished with gifts and trips.
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