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NY Post
New York Post
22 Jul 2023

NextImg:Stephen A. Smith wants Michael Irvin back on the ‘airwaves’ despite Super Bowl allegations

Stephen A. Smith wants The Playmaker back in the fold.

Michael Irvin has been off-air at NFL Network, as well as his spots on Smith’s “First Take” program on ESPN, since Super Bowl week in February, when he was accused of making lewd comments to a hotel worker at a Phoenix Renaissance, owned by Marriott.

Irvin has steadfastly denied wrongdoing, and Smith said that enough time has passed without concrete “incriminating” evidence that it’s time to put Irvin back on the air.

“I’ve spoken up on behalf of Michael Irvin by way of simply stating that I wanted him back on ‘First Take,’ barring any unforeseen evidence,” Smith said on his eponymous podcast Friday.

“I’ve waited months and I’m still waiting,” Smith added.

“I don’t know what Michael Irvin said to that woman. I don’t know what happened,” he continued.

Michael Irvin is pictured at the 2022 NFL Combine.
Getty Images

“All I’m going by is the evidence that has been placed before us. Ladies and gentlemen, all we have seen is a 45-second video of Michael Irvin talking to this young lady, and then both of them going their separate ways. That is it. That is not a reason for a three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer to be unemployed or off the airwaves entertaining us the way this man entertains us.”

Smith said NFL Network and ESPN would have every right not to want Irvin because of how things work in corporate America and companies getting tired of employees being in the news for the wrong reasons.

However, Smith said, he was told by industry insiders that there would be “incriminating evidence” against Irvin from this incident and that this was why the former Cowboys wideout would be off-air.

“Well, guess what? That was February! … August is on the way!” Smith said.

“In case y’all haven’t noticed, since that time, I’ve lost about 20 pounds, my hairline has receded by about another foot, I’m six months older, I know a couple of dudes that just had babies, and I’ve been to about six birthday parties, and we still haven’t seen no evidence incriminating Michael Irvin,” Smith said.

Stephen A Smith campaigned for Michael Irvin's on-air return during a recent episode of The Stephen A. Smith Show.

Stephen A Smith campaigned for Michael Irvin’s on-air return during a recent episode of The Stephen A. Smith Show.
Screengrab/The Stephen A. Smith Show

“And if we don’t see that, this man should be on the airwaves.”

The surveillance video that Smith mentioned does not have sound.

In a legal filing in March, Marriott alleged that Irvin propositioned the female employee.

“Irvin also reached out and touched the Victim’s arm during this conversation without her consent, causing her to step back, becoming visibly uncomfortable,” the filing said. “Irvin then asked the Victim whether she knew anything about having a ‘big Black man inside of [her].'”

Irvin’s attorney Levi McCathern denied these claims.

“The allegations are nonsense, and we immediately need to get Michael back to work, and we need Renaissance to apologize to him,” McCathern said.

In a lawsuit, Irvin accused Marriott of perpetuating a “modern-day lynching.”