Former Titans QB Steve McNair Laid to Rest Today-Just One More Perspective



McNair-Donn Jones-APLast week’s tragic death of former Titans quarterback Steve McNair, and the disturbing circumstances surrounding the case really put things into perspective.

For several years now, there has been a growing trend; an infamous trend that has seen the deaths of many posh superstars whose advantageous lifestyles have seemingly destroyed them. There was WWE superstar Eddie Guerrero, who died in 2005. Then, two years later, the murder/suicide involving yet another WWE superstar, Chris Benoit. A few months prior to Benoit’s death, ( not so surprisingly) Anna Nicole Smith was found dead, and one year after her death came the highly unexpected deaths of actors Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger.

Now, in the year 2009, and in about two months time, we have seen the deaths of actor David Carradine, Ed McMahon, actress Farrah Fawcett, infomercial icon Billy Mays, (the last three being the only three to die of natural causes) and “The King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. McNair’s name being added to this dreadful list hit a little too close to home.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a huge Steve McNair fan, so much so, that when he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 I became a part-time Ravens fan. The derision shown to me by fellow Titans fans was to be expected, after all the Baltimore Ravens were a long time rival.

Cat calling or not, I was unwavering in my decision to follow the Ravens, because it was Steve “Air” McNair whom I was truly a fan of, even after he began taking media and fan criticism for his susceptibility to bodily injury. Of the many quarterbacks in the league, both past and present, I can’t readily recall another quarterback who took as much punishment on the field as McNair did during his 13 years in the NFL; not to mention the number of injuries he played through to lead the Titans  on to victory. Outside of football however, he seemed to struggle with ambivalence.

McNair’s affinity for the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities has been well documented through his extensive charity work, his eagerness to interact with fans, and his notably popular football camp for kids. It’s clear to me and to those who were closest to him that he had good intentions and a good heart, but it’s important to remember that celebrities are human beings too. It is too often that we forget this, and in doing so we unintentionally put these celebrities up on Mt. Olympus alongside all the other mythological Gods. When we do this, we lose sight of human nature, which is plagued by mistakes and lessons to be learned. McNair certainly made plenty of mistakes in his personal life, namely the DUI charges and the rumors that have circulated for years about his being unfaithful to his wife.

These allegations don’t make him a bad person, but rather a person who repeatedly made bad judgment calls. There is an old adage, “When you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned.” Knowing what we know now, that Ms. Kazemi murdered McNair and then took her own life only adds more questions, dousing an already fulgent flame with an insidious amount of gasoline. Perhaps what makes this particular situation so difficult, is that deep down we know that there are consequences for our actions.

By no means did McNair’s misleading behavior give Ms. Kazemi the right to take a life, no one should be able or willing to make that judgement call, but as a grown man, McNair was responsible for his own actions. He was a married man dating a 20-year-old woman, Sahel Kazemi, who just two days prior had been arrested for her own DUI as McNair sat next to her in the passenger seat. He then made the decision to bail her out. Had he not made these decisions, maybe he would still be alive, but we can’t dwell on what could have been. The only thing we can do is hope to move on eventually, while learning the hardest of  life’s lessons and keeping the fondest of memories in mind.

Number 9 will be sorely missed, and most assuredly, never forgotten. McNair-Donn Jones-AP-2


Celebrity Impact

Eliza Dushku-Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dollhouse

Eliza Dushku-Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dollhouse
Alyssa Milano-Most well known for her role as Phoebe in Charmed.

Alyssa Milano-Most well known for her role as Phoebe in Charmed.

Drew Barrymore- Actress and writer of the bio "Little Girl Lost"

Drew Barrymore- Actress and writer of the bio "Little Girl Lost"

When I was a little girl my dream was to become a singer, (what little girl doesn’t dream about that) but as I got older I knew that my destiny was to become an actress. There were several reasons why I had to choose this profession. I loved the movies; dramas, bios, psychological thrillers, horror,  dark comedies, cult classics, and action/crime movies caught my eye most- specifically if they empowered women.

Whether they were b-listers, box office hits, or box office flops, didn’t matter much to me as long as the acting  and plot in the movie was enticing. The idea of stepping outside of your own life in order to assume another’s identity was, in a sense, the perfect scenario for me. I thought, “Hey, I can do this, I have a “special gift” that produces empathetic responses. I can tap into my emotions the way many others cannot because I have the ability to “flashback” to occurrences in my life that are less than appealing.”

Drew Barrymore was my first inspiration. Other than E.T., I’d first seen her in the movie Doppleganger, a b-list psychological thriller with an amazingly twisted plot. After that, I just knew I had to see more of her films. I had to learn more about her, as both a person and an actress. Here’s where fate steps in…(circa 1993) As I was perusing the actor/actresses book of films at Blockbuster Video, the clerk at the counter took notice, we then began to discuss Drew Barrymore and somehow that conversation turned personal. After talking to me for 30 minutes and noting how much I looked like Drew, she offered me her auto-biography, “Little Girl Lost.” I couldn’t believe she was just willing to hand it over, she didn’t even know me, not really.

As it turned out, we had much more in common than just looks, and I began to admire her for more than her acting abilities. Two years later, her auto-biography would become my “higher power” so to speak, something you are encouraged to have in NA/AA. (It doesn’t always have to be God, despite what most people believe, that’s not the core of their teaching- anything that can be used as an inspiration can be used as a higher power.) If she could make it out on top fairly alone, than I could too;  as far as acting is concerned, Drew Barrymore was once quoted saying something to this effect, “You almost have to be a little crazy to be a good actor/actress.”

(*NOTE- I have been diagnosed in the past with both bi-polar and BPD. It’s still up for debate after nearly 20 years, not surprisingly, because many of the symptoms are similar and often co-exist together.)

The idea of becoming an actress, that bright bulb that once shone so clearly in my mind, eventually became obsolete. After having been thrust into the world of modeling briefly and taking an acting workshop, (circa 1997) I realized that the very same reasons I wanted to become an actress were also good reasons not to be. Aside from the aforementioned disorders, I also had a panic disorder. Me+limelight+panic disorder+ a past with drug addiction+paparazzi=disaster. I honestly believe I would have become a complete headcase-But, being an artist of all trades, I knew I still wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry, so I took on photography and then writing, which would allow me to remain a part of it all from behind the scenes.

I still adore movies, but I’ve always been more attracted to actresses who rebel against Hollywood’s standards in relation to the “elite,” as well as the actresses who are not only fan friendly, but who use their celebrity status as a tool to fight against all the injustices in the world today. People listen when you have power, it may not be right, but it is what it is. More celebrities need to use their power to speak out on the important issues facing the world today, rather than worrying about how it may affect their careers. 

Hollywood has certainly seen it’s share of celebutaunte faux pas, (Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Courtney Love, Drew Barrymore-the list goes on and on) and they’re still standing, as famous as ever. Really, it’s far less risky to speak out on intolerance.

My Faith Renewed

Since tweeting on Twitter I’ve regained some of the admiration I’d lost among the Hollywood elite. Alyssa Milano is arguably the most active twitterer with her fans. That is something to be revered for, truly. Eliza Dushku is also in this category, and both of these gorgeous celebutantes spoke out about the heinous decision made in California regarding prop 8. Eliza even attended the rally! Talk about being humble and real.

Ladies, keep rocking with your bad selves-  To all you other celebrities out there- (barring a few I may have forgotten to mention) You should really follow their lead, you may be surprised by the results you get.