It's tough to be inconspicuous when you're wearing a teal sport coat, designer sunglasses, thick gold chains and a brimmed hat straight from the Laurel & Hardy gift shop. But on March 25, inconspicuous was what Dallas Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin was trying to be as he moved through the basement corridors of the Frank Crowley Criminal Courts Building after meeting with Dallas County prosecutors.
Several days earlier Irvin had been arrested in a drug bust at an Irving, Texas, hotel, where he and a former Cowboys teammate were caught with cocaine, marijuana, assorted battery-operated sex toys and two "self-employed models." Now Irvin and his attorneys were trying to work out a deal with prosecutors under which Irvin would avoid indictment on drug charges.
As Irvin passed two female security guards in a basement hallway, he stopped briefly to grant their autograph requests. "Boy," one of the women said, dragging the three-letter word into three syllables, "I wish I'd been here when you came in, because I'd have told you not to go through the metal detector. I'd have frisked you myself!"
As I watched the two women fawn over a married man who had just been caught—almost literally—with his pants down, I realized why the justice system couldn't teach Irvin a lesson: He was still fabulously popular because he was a Cowboy.