Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin has given a fascinating interview to Cyd Zeigler of Out magazine, offering wide-ranging thoughts about how the football world would react to a gay player coming out.
“If anyone comes out in those top four major sports, I will absolutely support him,” Irvin said. “That’s why I do my radio show every day. When these issues come out, I want to have a voice to speak about them. I think growth comes when we share. Until we do that, we’re going to be stuck in the Dark Ages about a lot of things. When a guy steps up and says, ‘This is who I am,’ I guarantee you I’ll give him 100% support.”
Irvin says the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s would have been accepting of a gay player in the locker room.
“I believe, if a teammate had said he was gay, we would have integrated him and kept moving because of the closeness,” Irvin said. “We had a bunch of different characters on that team. Deoin [Sanders] and Emmitt [Smith]. I believe that team would have handled it well.”
Some football players, including former Giants receiver David Tyree, have used their religious convictions to argue for discrimination against gays. Irvin, however, says it’s his own religious convictions that make him support equality.
“The last thing I want is to go to God and have him ask, ‘What did you do?’ And I talk about winning Super Bowls and national titles,” Irvin says. “I didn’t do anything to make it a better world before I left? That would be scary.”
Irvin says he’s proud to support civil rights for everyone.
“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,” Irvin said. “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.”