There were a couple of articles this weekend, including a short story on Friday.  If you have been out of town, make sure to scroll down and catch up on the last few editions of The Soap Boxers.

There were two big stories that broke during the weekend.  They were were the death of former NFL player Steve McNair and Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s announcement that she will resign as governor by the end of the month.


McNair and his girlfriend were found shot to death in his girlfriend’s condo in Nashville.  McNair had been shot multiple times, including once in the head.  His girlfriend had been shot once in the head, and the gun was found near her body.  At the time I am writing this, the police would not speculate on what occurred, but they did say that they were not actively looking at suspects.  From these pieces of information, however, the likely scenario is that McNair’s girlfriend shot him before turning the gun on herself.  Certainly more information will be released in the coming days.

McNair played college football for division 1-AA Alcorn State.  1-AA (now referred to as FCS) is a rung below the “major” college programs of division 1-A (referred to as FBS).  Few 1-AA player ever get the chance to play in the NFL.  McNair was a man among boys in college, however, and proved that he belonged with the big boys.  Despite the fact that he had not played against top level competition in college, McNair was the #3 overall pick in the 1994 draft by the Houston Oilers (who later became the Tennessee Titans).

McNair fought many injuries during his career, but still ended up with more than 30,000 passing yards and 3500 rushing yards.  McNair was a 3 time Pro Bowl player, won an MVP award (shared with Peyton Manning), and got the Titans to within one yard of a Super Bowl title following the 1999 season.  In the process, he tore down many barriers that had been put in the path of African American quarterbacks.


On Friday, Sarah Palin announced that she was stepping down as governor of Alaska, saying that she did not want to be a lame duck, and once again saying that she has been the victim of a double standard regarding her treatment by the press.

Palin, of course, did not face an issue of term limits, so she was the person who labeled herself a lame duck.  The deadline for filing for the next gubernatorial election is nearly a year away, so she could have easily kept her plans close to the vest until then, and avoided lame duck status.

As for Palin saying that she was been treated unfairly by the media, and that a male would not have been treated a harshly – I do not buy this argument.  Certainly the conservative wing of the media attacked Barack Obama on several issues that were of less importance than the ethics complaints surrounding Palin.  When Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate, many in the media (and many outside the media, such as myself) were stunned at the choice.  Some felt that the choice of Palin was an attempt to draw female voters who had previously supported Hilary Clinton – a strategy that had little chance of working, considering the major ideological difference between Clinton and Palin.  Palin clearly had some baggage attached to her, and many people felt that this baggage would drag down the ticket.  However you might feel about the issues that surrounded Palin, I think that it is quite logical to suggest that she was indeed a drag on the ticket and was a major reason why McCain performed poorly on election day.

What’s next for Sarah Palin?  Your guess is as good as mine.  She may be finished with politics, or she end up as a presidential candidate in 2012.  The Republican Party probably does not want her on the ticket in 2012.  Although she might have a reasonable chance of winning the Republican nomination, her inability to garner necessary votes from the centrists would make it difficult for her to win the general election.  The fact that she is resigning as governor will likely be used against her by opponents who will portray her as a quitter who quits when the going gets tough.

A possible, albeit strange, strategy?  Palin takes on Republican senator Lisa Markowski in 2010, and then uses Washington D.C. as the base of operations for a 2012 presidential run.  This would be considerably more convenient than using Alaska as her base.  The sheer distance of Alaska from the rest of the country would force her to either miss important events or cause her to be away from her job as governor.

The only problem with this plan?  Murkowski would probably beat her in the primary.

UPDATE: Palin’s attorney is warning the media, indication that legal action will be pursued against reports who say that Palin is stepping down because she is the subject of a federal investigation.  This is the first I had heard about a possible federal investigation – and if Governor Palin’s attorneys are reading this, I am not suggesting that this is why she is stepping down 🙂

FURTHER UPDATE: The FBI confirms that they are NOT investigating Palin.