For the last 18 months I've appeared regularly on one of radio's gay-friendliest sports talk shows, The Michael Irvin Show. I called the show's producer this morning to find out when we were going on, and he told me the show had not been picked up; And while the show was supposed to air today from the Super Bowl's radio row in Miami, ESPN pulled the plug on today's broadcast in response to a civil lawsuit filed against Irvin alleging he raped a woman in 2007.
Irvin's lawyer, Larry Friedman, said the woman used the threat of the lawsuit to try to extort $1 million from Irvin.
Irvin, who is scheduled to take part in Sunday's Super Bowl broadcast in Miami, rejected the offer and denies the allegations in the suit, Friedman said.
"The more popular sport is not football; it's extorting money from sports figures," Friedman said. "It's the price you pay for fame today."
Mind you, he's only been accused of this; Yet ESPN pulled the plug anyway. Hopefully the NFL Network and other broadcast entities won't be so quick to be the judge, jury and executioner.
This is a big loss for gay equality. Michael has been an incredible champion of including a gay voice on his show, even when management scratched their heads about having a gay guy on Dallas sports radio. It's ironic that earlier this week the Dallas Morning News ran a story about how radio was Michael's No. 1 priority.
I have no idea about the very serious allegations targeting Michael. I do know that he is one of the most dynamic people I've ever met. From the first day I was on the show, he was warm and welcoming. I heard from other people he often said having a gay guy on the show was one of the most important things they could do. When I first met him in Dallas about a year ago, he hugged me and my partner with a warm embrace. When I asked him to come talk to my gay flag football team over the summer, he did it without hesitation.
Michael's radio partner, Kevin Kiley, has become a great friend since we first met in 2002 on the Kiley & Booms Show. To not have his voice on ESPN Radio in Dallas is also a huge loss for the gay community; A straight former football player, he has long gone out of his way to include gay topics and gay voices in all of his radio projects.
I hope these two end up on the radio again soon, and I hope Michael is innocent and is found innocent of the accusations. These two people are too great to be kept away from the airwaves for too long. I know they had bigger and better plans for the future, so keep your fingers crossed....