The news that former Dallas Cowboys and Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin appears on the cover of the August issue of Out magazine - and, inside the gay men's publication, discussing his passion for equality issues - is a hugely positive development for the sports world and the gay community. Heck, it's great for everybody. In a year in which it has appeared that one of the last great taboo subjects in sports is finally out in the open, with many observers predicting an imminent rash of athletes coming out, Irvin's message of love and acceptance is hugely important.
But given some of his statements to the magazine, you have to wonder whether Irvin's the right guy to deliver this message of love and acceptance.
Advance reports of his interview have Irvin describing how his brother's sexual orientation - Vaughn Irvin, who died of stomach cancer in 2006 - may have contributed to his womanizing issues. He discovered his brother was gay sometime in the 1970s when he found him wearing women's clothing. "And through it all we realized maybe some of the issues I've had with so many women, just bringing women around so everybody can see, maybe that's the residual of the fear I had that if my brother is wearing ladies' clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic?" Irvin says. "I'm certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why am I making these decisions, and that came up."
Irvin goes on to say he'll support any athlete who comes out, and delivers a forceful condemnation of anyone in the African-American community who wouldn't support marriage equality:
"I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality."
So, let's seeâ¦how many different fumbles did Irvin commit during this game-winning touchdown catch and run? I count three:
1. Having a gay brother won't turn a heterosexual into a womanizer.
2. There is no definitive evidence that homosexuality is genetic. So, genetics probably can't explain Irvin's being a womanizer with a gay brother.
3. His brother's gay, yes, but it's worth pointing out that there's no correlation between transvestism and homosexuality. So while finding Vaughn in women's clothes might have been unsettling, Michael would only have known his brother was gay if he found him dressed as RuPaul at a gay pride parade.