Moral Low Ground

Civil Liberties

‘The Moral High Ground’: NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin Comes ‘Out’ for Gay Equality

NFL Hall of Famer and former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin has come ‘out’… for equality, that is.

The three-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro-Bowl wide receiver appears seductively shirtless on the cover of this month’s Out magazine, self-described as “the world’s leading gay fashion and lifestyle brand.”

'Out' for equality…

Irvin, who Out says is on a “pro-gay mission from God,” is a devout Christian who never let his religious beliefs stand in the way of his convictions. That’s because his father instilled in him a more tolerant form of religion.

It’s also because his brother was gay.

Irvin tells Out readers how he discovered his brother Vaughn, who he describes as “the smartest, most charismatic man I’d ever seen in my life,”  wearing women’s clothing in the late 1970s. Luckily, their father accepted that Vaughn was gay and the Irvin family gave nothing but unconditional love in response.

Vaughn died of stomach cancer in 2006, and Michael never spoke publicly about him until now.

He believes that Vaughn’s sexual orientation may have contributed to his own womanizing ways.

“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 came to terms with his issues and realized that the thing that mattered most in life wasn’t the three Super Bowl titles he won with the Cowboys but rather making the world a better place.

“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? All I got is Super Bowls? That would be scary.”

Addressing the gay marriage debate, the rampant homophobia in the black community and the insistence of many prominent blacks that the gay rights struggle is not a civil rights struggle, Irvin offers these poignant words: “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 shouldn’t 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.”

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