By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
I really did think my interest in Michael Irvin was over.
I'd attended his trial day after day with three dozen other reporters from around the country. I'd heard more than I ever wanted to know about the drugs and the girls and the vibrating sex toys. I'd marveled, along with everyone on the planet, at the zero-hour court appearance of Irvin's wife--doing that Hillary Clinton-Lee Hart-Joan Kennedy thing. In this case, Sandy was standing by her man for the TV cameras while hubby copped a plea for that X-rated, drug-fueled, motel birthday party he'd apparently forgotten to invite her to last March.
Irvin had wanted to assure us all that day a short month ago that no matter what he was caught doing behind his wife's back, the important thing to remember was that he really did like her.
"I would also like to say, 'Thank God for my wife,'" Irvin effused at an afternoon press conference held in the warm bosom that is Valley Ranch. "If I've ever seen a piece of God on earth, I see him in my wife. When we read about it in the Bible and we talk about it off our tongues like it is something easy when we talk about unconditional love. She gives it. She never left my side. She never questioned. All she did was support and love. I don't think I deserve her, but God gave her to me.
"I shall work on being a better father," Irvin said. "I shall work on being a better husband."
Starting the very next day, by God. Irvin announced to the assembled media that instead of hauling off to football training camp in Austin, he was going to retreat to Florida and heal the wounds he's inflicted on his family. "I'm going to surround myself with my family in Miami," he said. "I'm going to talk with my wife, and we're going to decide what we will do from there."
Irvin (and his bosses and lawyers) knew, of course, that to make this little speech sound even remotely sincere, he was going to have to have his family sitting right there at the press conference with him while he was spouting his gibberish. And so the wife dutifully followed him around all day like a spanked pooch, and Irvin's two daughters completed the happy picture--all of which was devoured by a press corps starved for a peek into Irvin's twisted marital life (as opposed to his twisted extramarital one).
"For the first time since his legal troubles began, Mr. Irvin was accompanied in court Tuesday by his wife, Sandi, who sat in the front row immediately behind him as the judge handed down the sentence," the Dallas Morning News reported breathlessly in its napalm-bomb coverage of the historic events.
"Ms. Irvin brought the couple's two daughters, 6-year-old Myesha and 8-month-old Chelsea, to court," the story continued. "They also accompanied him to the Tuesday afternoon news conference and left with him in the family's Chevrolet Suburban."
Sitting there, reading those two paragraphs in our Dallas daily, I realized that my professional interest in Michael Irvin was going to last just a bit longer. Because Michael Irvin's marriage--even the little that we knew about it--was obviously a lot more twisted than anybody realized. And so was Michael Irvin.
Last Friday morning, I drove out Highway 175 toward Interstate 635, headed to the metropolis of Mesquite, Texas, in search of the mother of Myesha Beyonca Irvin.
Who, contrary to reports in the Morning News and Skip Bayless' newest inside-the-Cowboys book, is not Sandy Irvin. (The press also consistently has referred to Mrs. Irvin as "Sandi," but according to marriage records in Miami and court records in Dallas her name is "Sandy.")
Let's think about this for a minute.
Michael Irvin is on trial for morally questionable behavior--specifically, snorting, smoking, and generally screwing up his head with a whole lot of illegal drugs with a coupla cheesy chicks that we will respectfully refer to here as "dancers." (New movie idea: Dances With Vibrators.) Irvin's Dream Team of grossly underwhelming lawyers prove no match for the prosecution's star witness--Rachelle Smith, another "dancer"--who mesmerizes a nation with her tales of lesbian sex shows and Irvin-ordered strip searches. By now, even Jerry Jones, who had dispatched his personal lawyer to try to get Irvin off the hook, is in deep despair about the image of America's Team.
So Irvin cops a no-contest plea.
Naturally, Irvin's handlers arrange a day of carefully orchestrated media spin control to resurrect the be-slimed reputation of Michael Irvin. The star receiver--who has suddenly become best-known for his coke-and-dildo parties--wants the world to know that he is, first and foremost, a Big Family Man.
With that in mind, Irvin hauls out the wife. The baby daughter. And...the illegitimate love child? Specifically, the one whose mother had to recruit the Texas attorney general to file suit against Irvin in order to get him to own up to his responsibilities? In the real world, showing off the out-of-wedlock kid on his big day of contrition makes showing up for his grand-jury appearance in diamond earrings and a floor-length mink coat look like a shrewd move.