Former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin is back in Florida this week as part of the pre-Super Bowl festivities. He’s broadcasting his ESPN Radio Dallas show from the Media Center in Fort Lauderdale, and like many of the former players milling about Radio Row he looks like he could still suit up and go right now.
But any sense of celebration has been tempered by the news that a civil suit alleging sexual assault has been filed against Irvin. According to the Miami Herald, Irvin allegedly raped a woman at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
A decision on whether criminal charges will be pursued is pending.
The alleged incident occurred in July 2007, a month before he gave a stirring speech upon entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Irvin, through his lawyer, denies the allegations, calling them “totally untrue.”
The action comes after negotiations on a financial settlement stalled. The woman reportedly wanted $1 million, then dropped her demand to $800,000.
“This complaint is tantamount to criminal extortion,” attorney Larry Friedman told the Herald. “There is no merit to the complaint.”
Though it’s rare for anyone to admit to engaging in criminal conduct, Irvin is entitled to the presumption of innocence in a court of law.
In the court of public opinion, Irvin’s history might work against him. But he seems to have changed his ways, so he merits in our view the benefit of the doubt.