Some backstory: Michael Irvin, former Miami Hurricane legend and ESPN NFL analyst, is tight with Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon. The young wideout has had a history of substance abuse troubles with marijuana, and he's facing a potential yearlong ban for multiple failed tests.
Cris Carter, a former Minnesota Vikings receiver and current ESPN NFL analyst -- and Boca Raton resident -- was quoted by the Cleveland Plain-Dealer saying the Browns should cut Gordon. Carter had his own past with cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy and was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1990 before finding the right path and becoming a star. He thought it would help Gordon to go through the same thing. Irvin does not.
The current NFL Network analyst joined the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on the Ticket Miami yesterday and lit a flame under Carter for making statements about Gordon without knowing his real issues. Multiple times during the interview, Irvin screams into the phone and at the end even sounds on the verge of tears.
And, in the middle of it, Irvin drops a bombshell of a story about Carter and Irvin's wife that he'd never told before. Check out the full interview below, and listen to the audio of the interview on the next page:
Michael Irvin with us on ESPN Radio. I'm curious what you've made of the Josh Gordon situation in Cleveland. What do you do if you're Cleveland?
Well, what do mean what do you do? You continue... If I'm Cleveland -- and every situation is different, you know, every situation is different -- and the key, I think, to this all is, you're talking about recovery. You have to be very careful. We would all like to think, and most of us that have gone through any kind of strongholds or recovery issues, that what has worked for us works for everybody. But that is so far from the truth. This is a different situation, and quite honestly -- quite honestly -- and I love Cris Carter to death. I thought that was a bit irresponsible of him to make the comment about releasing Josh Gordon. You know, what works for Cris, when we're talking about true recovery, may not work for the other, so you can't make a blanket statement and just say: worked for me, it'll work for him, because that's not necessarily the truth, and I thought it was a bit irresponsible. We have to be very careful in this position, given the situation where you're trying to help people, you're truly trying to help people and then also turn around, saying "I'm mentoring and I'm helping, I'm helping." The people start thinking that you have insight on the situation or the issue or the problem, so when you come out and make those kinds of comments and you're not in his sessions with his professional help, you don't know what's going on in those sessions, then you're being irresponsible. I was a bit disappointed Cris Carter made that statement.
Michael, I've known you for a long time, and the fact that you just said that on the radio, I know that privately -- I know you, Michael -- that you must have been hot when you heard those comments, when you heard Cris Carter's comments and you were like "How can you speak on behalf of everybody when this is clearly a problem that Josh Gordon doesn't have any control over?"
Dan, this is a brain disease. Addiction is a brain disease. You know, we act as if someone should...How can you make that decision? You must be stupid. He's not. That's why they call substances dope. Because it makes you less intelligent and you make the poor decision. It's a brain disease. And it affects everybody differently. Dan, I was so hot when I heard it. I was so hot. You know, I love Cris Carter, and he's a good dude and I know what he's trying to do, and he's doing his job because his job is to bring his experience to the desk, to a microphone, and share his experiences. But he's touching these lines, just like I'm touching when I'm trying to help guys, and you're on TV. You have to toe a thin line here; you have to toe a very thin line. People consider you, like, you talked to Josh so you must know more. If you said they need to cut him, then my God, maybe they should cut him. Now, isolation for Cris may have been the best thing. Separation, for Cris, may have been the best thing. For Josh, maybe it's the worst thing, and I'm going to put a little personal on this even though I love Cris to death. I don't know what year it was we were in the Pro Bowl. And all Cris is trying to do, he's just trying to share his experiences. He said to my wife -- he said to my wife -- you know, Michael would never come out of this problem until you leave him. Till you leave him. For years, I've held it. I've never shared that with anybody. I've never in my life shared that with anybody. I was so irked with Cris because he was out of line then. His ass is out of line now. He is out. of. line.
Whoa, I can't even imagine how hot you were about that. I'm surprised that you're on here saying how much you love Cris Carter in spite of that. I guess that speaks to your forgiveness.
I understand the difficulty of what he's trying to do. That's why I'm telling you. He wants to help, and I understand that. But he has to meet with people; he has to talk with people. I meet with doctors that meet with players that have substances issues. I meet with them. I meet with these doctors, I talk to these doctors; I talk about issues these guys are going through, and the worst thing you can do sometimes is to isolate them. I would never say on-air, given the position I'm given, that a team should cut somebody unless I get it from his professional help that separation and isolation will give him a revelation about his situation. But I get that from the doctor -- not a football player, not anybody upstairs -- I get it from the doctor, and I don't repeat it and I don't say it. Period.
Michael Irvin with us here on ESPN Radio. I'm wondering: Did you confront Cris after your wife told you that story?
I never said that; I never told him that. Nope. Never confronted him with it because I know, just because he spoke it doesn't make it reality, and it wasn't going to be my reality in that situation. But in this situation, because people know that Josh talks with Cris, it will seem to somebody trying to infer that Cris is on the doctors sessions and the recovery sessions and he's making this statement. That's when I said, Cris, if he makes that statement, if he wants to say, you know, I know the best thing that happened to me was being released, then you make that statement. If that's the truth, then that's the truth. Share the truth. If you're in the sessions, say, hey I'm in on the sessions with him, I'm with his therapist and boy, I think they need to cut him, and you can share that. But if you don't got that kind of information, you can't say that, you can't say that because people think he's in on the sessions and that's not reality. I just thought it was a little shaky and scary.
I'm just curious how react to what is the knee-jerk judgment reaction of many a fan and many a media member saying: Man, Josh Gordon, what an idiot.
That's the problem, Dan. That's the problem. I understand that and that's why I told you this is a brain disease. I don't mind you calling him an idiot. Call him an idiot, I was idiot, call it what you want, you know what I mean? That's not the issue. Fans aren't the problem. Fans call him whatever you want. But you can't be inside or portraying to be inside or portraying to be helping recovery and make those kinds of statements. That's all I'm saying. I know Cris. Cris does a great job doing what he tries to do. But you've gotta be careful of those things. I talk to the doctor, I talked to Dr.Underwood today about this. Because I don't want to go and say stuff that is not reality and I said, Doc, make sure I'm right on this. We can not, we can not make blanket statements when it comes to recovery. He says, it's the worst thing in the world you can do. Because what we're seeing is that the substance is just the fruit of the issue. The real issue that you're trying to get to is the root of the issue. Why are we reverting to the substance and the root of the issue, if I hadn't been hearing some of the things that I'd been hearing, the root of the issue is why are we doing this? It's not just that we're doing it, it's why are we doing it. What happened in your history -- tell me your story -- that makes you revert to this. So you gotta go uproot the root. Now, I have heard Josh talk about some of the things in his history. The way you can tell a kid or anybody is not anywhere near recovery: You won't hear anything about what has happened in his history, you will just hear that he keeps saying, I promise I'm not going into addiction, I promise I'm not going into addiction. But the fact that a guy is sharing some of the issues that he had with his family, it's saying he's on his road to recovery. It may not happen when you want it to happen -- it's not about you. It may not happen when the NFL wants it to happen -- it's NOT about the NFL and it may not happen when the Cleveland Browns fans want it to happen and it's NOT about them either. It's about that kid. It's about that damn kid and we can't be making blanket statements like that and yes I am upset about it and yes, I didn't address Cris about mine, but I will address him about this. I will see him and I will address him about this because I think he has to be careful. He has to be careful.
After the interview, Twitter itself was hot.
— dmoney (@DeWalker1982) July 9, 2014
That Michael Irvin interview, wow. Just heard it. Powerful stuff
— Giancarlo Mattei (@GiancarloMattei) July 9, 2014
Michael Irvin just snapped
— Dream Killa (@wishinguwereme) July 8, 2014
Michael Irvin just Germany'd Chris Carter's Brazil. Pause. But that just happened.
— Superspade (@SirCoach) July 8, 2014
Michael Irvin lit Cris Carter the bleep up. Get them a boxing ring.
— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) July 8, 2014
Michael Irvin just basically confirmed that Chris Carter is the worst of scumbags. Already seemed that way, but yeah. That's foul.
— Superspade (@SirCoach) July 8, 2014
Holy smoke Michael Irvin....you'll hear about the story he shared about Cris Carter real soon
— Matt Brodsky (@MattSBrodsky) July 8, 2014
You can follow Ryan Cortes on Twitter.
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