Podcast vs. Police:

Sports Illustrated series on McNair murder gives air to charge that Metro botched the investigation

It had all the elements of a Hollywood script or a best-selling whodunit, but the shocking 2009 Fourth of July murder of legendary Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was – horribly – all too real.

Ledger cover by Leigh Melton Singleton

The Nashville police department took just four days to close the case. At a July 8, 2009, press conference, Metro Police announced their murder-suicide findings, stating McNair had been shot to death by his mistress, Sahel (Jenni) Kazemi, who then took her own life and was found at McNair’s feet, lying atop the 9-millimeter Glock pistol that had killed them both.

But almost from the moment Metro Police announced those findings, questions have been raised by a vocal minority suggesting McNair was really killed by someone other than Kazemi and that she was killed to cover the tracks of the true murderer.

There have been books written, TV true-crime investigations and documentaries – and now a new Sports Illustrated narrative podcast tackles the case with the hard-hitting journalistic goals of probing all aspects of the crime while trying to definitively answer the murder-suicide question.

The podcast, which debuted Oct. 17, is titled “Fall of a Titan: The Steve McNair Story.” New episodes are available on Wednesdays via Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.

Coincidence or not, the number nine crops up often when looking at the SI exposé. McNair wore No. 9 for the Titans, the podcast is being told over nine episodes – chapters, really – and it has been nine-plus years since the sensational crime occurred.

SI journalist Tim Rohan

“This really is like a true-crime mystery, right? The police are certain that it’s 100 (percent) closed, but there’s a lot people that feel like this thing’s still open,” says SI’s Tim Rohan, an NFL writer for the magazine who spent 15 months researching, writing and hosting the project. “It was definitely fascinating to kind of dive into it for more than a year.”

For the most part, at least in the first episode, “The Private Eye,” Rohan sticks to his journalistic instincts in re-examining the case through the eyes of Vincent Hill, a former Nashville policeman and private eye who now hosts the Beyond the Badge podcast and is a law enforcement analyst for Fox News and other television outlets.

To read the full Nashville Ledger article, click here.


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