QB's death stirs talk of infidelity

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- The shocking death of former NFL quarterback Steve McNair and infidelity among sports stars is the main topic of discussion among families of professional athletes.

"They can't take their mind off it," said Tisha DeShields, ex-wife of former major leaguer Delino DeShields.

McNair had been married 12 years before he was shot to death on July 4 at his condo by 20-year-old Sahel Kazemi, who then turned the gun on herself. Police said Kazemi was struggling financially and suspected McNair might be involved with another lover.

DeShields, a 38-year-old Atlanta businesswoman who divorced her husband after discovering his seven-year affair, remains friends with a number of male pro athletes and their wives. She said McNair's death is what they've been discussing.

"If this was a banker down the street, then it would just be the banker down the street," she said. "But this was one of their own, their colleague, someone they respected."

One question that comes up is will any of the athletes learn from the tragedy.

Dr. Sherry Blake called McNair's death "a wake-up call" for players, but she expects most eventually will forget about the murder-suicide and return to their old habits.

"Many players have had extra affairs for years," said Blake, a clinical psychologist who practices in the Atlanta area and has counseled athletes and entertainers about the temptations of drugs, alcohol and women.

One way to possibly get athletes to heed the warnings of experts is for the advice to come from their peers.

Chris Sanders, who played with the 36-year-old McNair, said he should have been more involved in the personal life of his one-time teammate.

The NFL discusses the potential risks in personal relationships at its annual rookie symposium each June. Each club can access the Life Skills options that include programs for managing relationships and violence against women.

"Relationship management is a critical part of what we do in Player Development," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail.


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