NFL Hall of Famer Michael Irvin appears on the cover of Out magazine this month, speaking out in support of gay marriage and gays in sports.
Irvin is not gay; in fact, he has a reputation as a womanizer. He offered a simple explanation for his behavior -- for the first time, Irvin is speaking publicly about one of his brothers who was gay. He said his brother's sexual orientation led him to overcompensate, according to ESPN, which previewed the Out article.
"And through it all we (a bishop with whom he was working) realized maybe some of the issues I've had with so many women, just bringing women around so everybody can see, maybe that's the residual of the fear I had that if my brother is wearing ladies' clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic? I'm certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why am I making these decisions, and that came up."
His brother died of stomach cancer in 2006.
"He was the smartest, most charismatic man I'd ever seen in my life," Irvin said.
Irvin said he supports gay marriage, and thinks all black people should.
"I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life. No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality."
He said he would have supported a gay teammate during his playing days, and would be there for any current athlete who comes out.
"If anyone comes out in those top four major sports, I will absolutely support him. ... When a guy steps up and says, 'This is who I am,' I guarantee you I'll give him 100 percent support," Irvin said.
Irvin said he is speaking out now because there is more to life than just sports.
"The last thing I want is to go to God and have him ask, 'What did you do?' And I talk about winning Super Bowls and national titles. I didn't do anything to make it a better world before I left? All I got is Super Bowls? That would be scary."