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Believing Irvin Takes Faith and Hope Print E-mail
by Norm Hitzges    Thu, Dec 1, 2005, 07:33 PM

It has been a week of bad decisions for Michael Irvin. After news of last Friday’s arrest surfaced, I thought Irvin’s future as a broadcaster was toast.

It was a bad decision for him to stash drug paraphernalia in his Mercedes. It was a bad decision when he allowed a warrant for his arrest to be issued for an unpaid speeding ticket. It was a bad decision for him to speed. And it was a bad decision not to address the situation immediately.

This was obviously not Irvin’s first brush with the law. It was not his first association with drug. Let’s be honest, Irvin has a horrible past littered with dumb decisions. He has no credibility when it comes to public opinion.

There is no telling how much money Irvin’s bad decisions have cost him over the years. As a player, Irvin’s actions cost him any chance of lucrative endorsement deals. As a broadcaster, Irvin has lost one job and who knows how many jobs passed him by because of his actions.

After finding The Lord and cleaning up his image Fox Sports finally gave him a chance on the Best Damn Sports Show Period. He worked hard to polish his broadcasting skills. He did everything he could to establish himself in the business. And he did a good job.

The suits at ESPN were so impressed with Irvin’s work that they decided to hire him. They knew about Irvin’s past. They knew the chance that they were taking. And, I can promise you that they did everything they could to protect themselves in case Irvin had a relapse.

It would have been very easy for ESPN to fire Irvin after his arrest. You see, Irvin decided not to tell his employer of the arrest. ESPN found out about it when a reporter from the Associated Press called them for a comment. It was another dumb decision and at the very least, Irvin was definitely guilty of non-disclosure.

But, for some reason ESPN chose to stick by their guy. Irving didn’t fired. He didn’t even get suspended immediately. If you watched ESPN on last weekend you saw The Playmaker. Instead of a knee jerk reaction, ESPN chose to let Irvin work while the situation sorted itself out.

I just couldn’t believe that Irvin was going to skate. But then, I got the chance to talk to Michael. As unbelievable his story sounds, Irvin does a great job telling it. Yes, there seems to be holes in it. And, Irvin is the first to tell you that he understands why you wouldn’t believe him. But, the more I spoke with him, the more believable the story became.

He says that he was helping a friend through some troubled times.  He says that he actually had some very animated phone conversations with his friend during the commercial breaks of his  ESPN shows last week.  He says that, at the time, he was very embarrassed that he had to have these conversations in front of his co-workers.   But he acknowledges that, in the end, these conversations may have saved his job.  Apparently in ESPN's , those conversations lended credibility to Irvin's story.  Instead of firing Irvin, they simply suspended him for a week.  And they didn't suspend him for his arrest, they suspended him for not telling them about it.

After speaking to Michael, I can understand why he is still employed at ESPN. Irvin is one of the most charismatic people you will ever meet. He tells a good story and can seem very sincere. I know that I’m optimistic when I say that I hope he’s telling the truth. But, unfortunately Irvin’s history of bad decisions forces me to use the word “hope”.


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