We knew that when we decided to put NFL legend Michael Irvin on the cover of our August issue we knew we were going to turn some heads, but we had NO idea that the story would generate the response it has. Almost every major media outlet, both in the sports world and outside of it, has picked up the story and each time it has triggered an outpouring of both positive and negative reactions. (Surprise, surprise -- just as we're pointing out the homophobia in sports, a bunch of people take to their keyboards all too happy to prove just how despicably widespread the bigotry truly is). The story brought a record number of readers to Out.com on Tuesday and ESPN.com's coverage prompted over 3,000 comments and has been shared on Facebook over 7,000 times, proving just how controversial and important of an issue this truly is.
Irvin, who speaks candidly about his late gay brother and his passionate feelings about equality for all people in our August cover story, began making the talk show rounds this week to promote the piece. Yesterday he turned up on The NFL Network, for which he now works. During the interview Irvin revealed that most of the responses to his cover turn have been positive. "A lot of people that have called and emailed said I have a lot of friends that deal with this. And to be honest with you, I have a brother that I didn't know what it was all of it." Irvin also believes that the tide is changing in the sports world and more people are recognizing how damaging homophobia can be. "I think there are more people that are starting to see this issue the way we are speaking about it in the magazine. I really do," Irvin says. "I certainly think athletes are falling right in that category of people. Now that we know that it is offensive, now that we know it is hurtful, people are tending to turn away from hurtful things, and I think that's a good thing."
To watch the full interview, click here. To read our August cover story on Irvin, click here. To read our list of the 30 most homophobic Dickheads in sports -- and to vote for the biggest dickhead of them all -- click here. To see our full slide show of straight sports allies from the August issue, click here.