- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2015


Ray Rice, you had a rough 2014. You knocked your future wife out on a New Jersey casino elevator and the whole world (save for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell) saw it. You don’t know what future, if any, you have in the NFL.

Don’t worry. Sunnier days are ahead.

Adrian Peterson, you too. This past year is one that you would just as soon forget. The whole world heard how you beat your 4-year-old son with a tree branch on various parts of his body including his scrotum, and you plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault. Two years from now, it will go away.

Don’t worry. The NFL will forget someday maybe even embrace you with open arms. Maybe even use you as a representative of the “shield.”

Michael Irvin, you were once arrested for cocaine possession. You also plead no contest, and were suspended for five games by the NFL. You were arrested again for drug possession charges, though later those charges were dropped. And yet again you were arrested a third time on possession of drug paraphernalia charges.

Wait, there’s more. You were accused of sexual assault of a woman at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Fla. No charges were filed but the woman filed a $100 million lawsuit.

Four years ago, you were settling that lawsuit.

Today, you’re representing the National Football League as one of the official alumni captains for the 2015 Pro Bowl, to be played Sunday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

It’s like all the arrests and accusations never happened.

“Some of my favorite memories were from my Pro Bowl trips,” was the quote from Irvin on the official NFL press release. “I can’t wait to see which players get the Pro Bowl nod this season. I’m already thinking about how to build my team.”

He and co-captain Cris Carter did just that Wednesday in a made-for-television event broadcast by the NFL Network the network owned by the “shield” which employs Irvin as an analyst.

Maybe the NFL can invite former Cowboys guard Everett McIver — who is lucky to be alive — to be part of the Pro Bowl festivities.

McIver is the former teammate who Irvin reportedly stabbed with a pair of scissors because of a fight over who was in line to get a haircut. The reports say that Irvin stabbed McIver in the neck, just a few inches from his carotid artery.

See Ray? Maybe someday it will be you and Adrian, side by side, alumni co-captains for the NFL’s dog and pony show.

The beatings, the charges? Like they never happened.

In a business rife with hypocrisy, Michael Irvin being a co-captain of the Pro Bowl ranks up there among the worst particularly because no one has blinked an eye. It seems perfectly normal to have someone with a track record that would make him difficult to employ at McDonald’s the official sponsor of the Pro Bowl serve as a representative of the NFL in one of its showcase events, kicking off a week of Super Bowl coverage that will be dominated by how to punish a three-time Super Bowl winning coach for cheating.

Drug possession, sexual assault accusations even cutting up one of your teammates? Forgotten.

Cheating? Now we’re talking.

Irvin was a great football player — a five-time Pro Bowl selection who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007. He was heralded for his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2007 for acknowledging his mistakes.

Two years later, he told Dallas police he was a victim of an attempted carjacking, going as far as filing a police report that they pulled a gun on him. But police dropped the investigation when they said Irvin would not cooperate.

He has left his past behind, for the most part, and become a mainstream star — even competing in a season of “Dancing With The Stars.” He is one of the most popular analysts on the NFL Network.

And now he is the face of the National Football League’s All-Star event.

Ray and Adrian, there is a future for you in the NFL, where personality and profile wipes out all past transgressions.

• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com

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