The League

Liz Clarke
Staff Writer

Liz Clarke

Washington Post Sports Reporter

Separating Great and Good


There was much to admire about the way Steve McNair played football. His competitive fire and toughness come immediately to mind.

But the tragic circumstances of his death remind me of something Winston Churchill is credited with saying and that has been voiced in similar ways by others throughout history: "Great and good are seldom the same man."

For someone like me, whose childhood room was plastered with posters of heroes, part of growing up has been coming to grips with the fact that people who are exceptional in one arena -- whether politics, the arts or sports -- aren't necessarily exceptional human beings.

It's part of the human condition, I suppose, to presume that those who thrill and inspire us can do no wrong. But it's worth reflecting on what exactly it is we admire in our heroes -- whether it's their grit, artistry, courage, sportsmanship or compassion on a specific playing field -- and leave it at that.

Most of our heroes are not larger than life. They are human. And, like us all, they are subject to the worst human failings.

By Liz Clarke  |  July 9, 2009; 11:27 AM ET  | Category:  Baltimore Ravens , Crime Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Liz Clarke is my favorite sports columnist and, again, she assesses a situation, the McNair tragedy, better than any other writer I have read since this mess broke. Congratulations to her for her redeeming humanity. I bet in her case she breaks the mold and is not only great at what she does, but also she is a good person.

Posted by: royhobbs56 | July 9, 2009 2:16 PM

Yeah!! Let's all talk about how great Liz Clarke is!!!! What?

Posted by: Urnesto | July 9, 2009 3:57 PM

Yes, Liz Clarke is magnificent. And the fact that some criticize her is a big tribute to her. One has to consider the source of the criticism.

Posted by: royhobbs56 | July 9, 2009 9:42 PM

Nice take, Liz. I enjoy your work, too.

Posted by: delOH | July 10, 2009 6:45 AM

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