All right, yeah, I debated whether to post on this, and I know the wackos will come out of the woodwork to call me names, etc. But the fact that Michael Irvin gave this interview for "Out" magazine, talking about his own gay brother and how he'd make sure to support the first openly gay pro athlete whenever that person decides to come out, is really remarkable. Especially considering that the culture in which jocks and ex-jocks live still allows the careless use of gay slurs as epithets.
Whether you agree with Irvin's views on homosexuality -- heck, even his views on religion -- you have to admit that this is a courageous and well-intentioned stand he's taking. He is not required to take a position one way or the other on homosexuality in sports. Doesn't have to address it at all. But he chooses to, because he's decided he's in a position to help people -- to stand up for a group of people for whom men in his position don't usually stand up. Irvin has certainly not been an exemplary character all throughout his life and career, and something like this doesn't wipe away all of his transgressions. But you can't erase the past. All you can do is the best you can to make your world a better place while you're in it, and Irvin has chosen an impressive way of trying to do that.
Some highlight quotes:
"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 percent support."
"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. 'I didn't do anything to make it a better world before I left? That would be scary."
"I'm not gay, but I was afraid to even let anyone have the thought. I can only imagine the agony-- being a prisoner in your own mind -- for someone who wants to come out. If I'm not gay and I am afraid to mention it, I can only imagine what an athlete must be going through if he is gay."
That's called having perspective, folks. That's called being a man. Good job, Michael Irvin. Well done.