On Thursday, word broke that Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin had been sued for rape — and that a criminal investigation of the matter is still pending.
On Friday, ESPN dumped Irvin from its Dallas-based radio operation.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, ESPN had planned to give notice of its intention to terminate the relationship on Monday, February 8. His replacement already had been hired, we’re told.
It’s unknown whether Irvin had disclosed to ESPN the existence of the pending legal imbroglio; if he hadn’t, the decision to part ways was likely even easier to make.
And some of you have raised a valid question regarding the decision of ESPN to acknowledge the reports regarding the claims against Irvin, given the decision to ignore for multiple days the civil sexual assault charges made against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Differences exist between the two situations. In Irvin’s case, criminal charges have been pursued, and the initial report contained a statement from Irvin’s lawyer. Also, Irvin no longer is playing; thus, the report would have no impact on his on-field performance.
None of this changes our belief that the claims against Roethlisberger should have been reported more promptly. But we can understand ESPN’s decision to go with the Irvin report.