In the midst of its nonstop Super Bowl LVII coverage, the NFL Network is now without one of its most high-profile analysts. According to the Dallas Morning News, on Wednesday, the network announced that Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin will no longer be a part of its Super Bowl LVII programming. The decision comes after a woman filed a complaint about his behavior during an interaction in a hotel lobby on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz. A planned appearance on Friday’s episode of ESPN’s First Take has also been canceled. Neither NFL Network or ESPN has revealed details about the complaint.
“Michael Irvin will not be part of the NFL Network’s Super Bowl 2023 week coverage,” NFL Network spokesman Alex Reithmiller said in a statement.
The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver told the Dallas Morning News that the encounter lasted less than a minute, with a handshake their only physical contact.
“Honestly, I’m a bit baffled with it all,” Irvin said. “This all happened in a 45-second conversation in the lobby. When I got back after going out…I came into the lobby and I talked to somebody. I talked to this girl. I don’t know her, and I talked to her for about 45 seconds. We shook hands. Then, I left. That’s all I know.”
He said the interaction with the woman happened in the hotel lobby after he had dinner and drinks with former Cowboys safety Michael Brooks.
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“I don’t really recall that conversation, to tell you the truth,” Irvin said. “We were out drinking. It was just a friendly conversation. ‘What’s up?’ I don’t even know…I am totally perplexed.”
On Tuesday, local police officials told the Morning News “they have no knowledge of any incident involving Irvin,” while “Irvin said there ‘absolutely was no sexual wrongdoing.’”
“What law did I break?” Irvin said. “There was definitely nothing physical…That’s honestly all that happened. Nobody was in my room. It was a 45-second conversation in the lobby, a handshake and we left…I don’t know. I don’t know what this is, and it’s running me crazy.”
In an interview with “Shan & RJ” on 105.3, Irvin explained how he discovered there was a problem.
“Sunday night … when I came into the hotel, they asked what I did and I said, ‘I just went straight to the room,’” he said. “But I guess I had met somebody in the lobby. Talked to somebody in the lobby for about a minute and then I went to my room. And then after I got up there, they said they had to move me in the hotel. I said, ‘Move me in the hotel for what?’
After he inquired about the move, the situation was explained to him. “They said, ‘Well, last night you walked in, you talked to somebody.’ I said, ‘I didn’t talk to anybody. I went straight to the room.’ And then they showed it on camera that I did talk to somebody. I talked to this girl for about a minute. I don’t know what — they didn’t show it to me. They told it to me. I didn’t see it. But that’s why they moved me, because I guess the girl said I said something to her within that minute that we talked, and so they moved me.”
Irvin is one of television’s most popular sports personalities, so it will be interesting to see what affect this situation has on his career. With the NFL season coming to an end, he may use the familiar plan of just going away until everything dies down.
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