Plenty of athletes haven spoken out in support of same-sex rights of late, but, for Michael Irvin, the issue struck close to home. In a candid interview in Out magazine, the Dallas Cowboys’ Hall of Fame wide receiver says he learned as a kid that his brother, Vaughn, is gay.
“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 him100 percent support.”
Irvin added that, during his playing days, he believes his Cowboys teammates would have supported any athlete who said he was gay.
“I believe, if a teammate had said he was gay, we would have integrated him and kept moving because of the closeness,” Irvin said.
That includes one of his prominent former teammates from those days, Troy Aikman. Although the Hall of Fame quarterback was a target of rumors and whispers, Irvin said he and his teammates never discussed the matter.
“No, we didn’t. I didn’t think Troy was gay, but even if he had been, I think we could have handled it. Would it have affected the team? No, sir. I was going to make sure of that.”