By Rosetta Miller Perry
One of the frequent tactics used by many white publications who want to either obscure or get people to forget about negative things they’ve done is to publish a mea culpa article after they’ve done a lot of damage that they hope overshadows everything they’ve written up to that point. The Tennessean did this with an interesting article from sports columnist Joe Rexrode that said Steve McNair should be remembered more for his great bodily sacrifices on the football field and his charitable work in the community than anything else, and that those who were continuing to harp on his past transgressions were wrong.
That’s fine, and the Tennessee Tribune certainly shares in that sentiment. But that’s too late for the Tennessean, and it really makes one wonder what’s going on when that same newspaper has already run a series of columns and features not just replaying the events of a decade ago that resulted in McNair’s death, but even posting a timeline that laid out everything by day, then piling on with more stories raising the issue of whether his past was keeping him out of the College Hall of Fame, or another one that said the vast majority of people weren’t letting his past sully their view of him, which is a good thing considering it seems the Tennessean is obsessed with revisiting the tragedy.
First, let’s look objectively at whether there was a journalistic need for even reviewing those awful incidents. We suppose one can argue that there’s news value in recycling yet again the details of his death, and putting back into print material and accounts that by now have been published and recited multiple times by multiple publications, web sites, even ESPN and Sports Illustrated broadcasts and podcasts. But we’ll concede there’s a remote possibility there’s a valid journalistic reason for bringing it back for maybe one story.
But MULTIPLE stories? What’s the value in constructing a timeline to blare out each day of the tragedy? Why the revisiting and speculation about something that happened over a decade ago, and has already been the subject of lurid expose type stories so many times there’s nothing new to tell. If the Tennessean had uncovered fresh details or previously unpublished information, that would merit all those new stories. But all they did was tell the same story over, dressed up with catchy headlines and unanswered implications and questions. They didn’t offer the public or their readers one iota of fresh material.
Steve McNair’s tragic death has been the source of far too much lurid speculation, dubious broadcasts, and innuendo. After 10 years, it’s way past time publications stopped bringing that up every time they do a story about him. His number is rightly being retired this season by the Titans, and they should have done it long before now. He took that team to heights they hadn’t been before and haven’t come close to reaching since, and to be frank, he should have been able to retire as a Titan instead of going to another team. But he wasn’t, and that’s to the shame and detriment of the Titans franchise. At least they’re trying to straighten things out now by retiring his number.
It’s also time for the Tennessean and all other white publications to stop reprinting and rewriting the same old mean spirited evil stuff in an attempt at grabbing new attention and publicity. No matter how many different ways you write the same headlines and repackage the same information, all you’re doing is sullying and denigrating the memory of someone who wasn’t perfect, but also doesn’t deserve to have his many good things obliterated by constant recalling of his flaws.
Honor Steve McNair the right way. Credit him for his achievements. Let people remember the good things. No, it doesn’t excuse or erase the bad, but that wasn’t and shouldn’t be considered anywhere near as important as all the positive things he did and what he meant to this community. Remember he has children who loved him and must read what is really trash from my favorite majority newspaper in Tennessee. Shame on you Tennessean, give my race the respect we deserve as we buy your newspaper even though you continue to denigrate us almost daily.