NFL

Why Jerry Jones Stuck By Michael Irvin Amidst a Sex Scandal

Michael Irvin is, too many, synonymous with the legendary Dallas Cowboys’ run of the early 1990s. He is also synonymous with some hard-partying ways that gave him headlines that were less-than-flattering throughout his career and could be a nuisance for owner Jerry Jones and the club. One particular instance in Irvin and the Cowboys’ past is particularly telling. The retired receiver recently spoke to Joe Buck about it. 

Michael Irvin rises to be one of the best

Irvin spent his entire 12-year NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys. He came to the team right when Jones bought it, and the two became kindred spirits because of that. It didn’t hurt that Irvin, along with quarterback Troy Aikman and legendary running back Emmitt Smith, was a dynasty in the making.  Anyone who knows Jones knows that he wants winners on his field, even if he isn’t always great at finding them. That wasn’t the case in Irvin’s heyday, however. 

Micahel Irvin began with some slight struggles in his first three years. He was an on-again, off-again starter for those three years, but he also spent plenty of time coming off the bench. When Irvin was on, however, he could get the ball down the field and catch anything thrown his way. By 1991, he was a bonafide star who was putting up some truly ridiculous numbers. 

Michael Irvin — peaks and valleys

Irvin tallied 93 receptions for a career-best 1,523 yards and eight touchdowns in 1991, averaging 95 yards a game on nearly six receptions. It was a welcome party not just for him, but for the Cowboys, too. By 1992, they were Super Bowl champions for the first time with that core, and they repeated the winning tradition two more times before things began to fall apart. 

Irvin had his last of five-straight Pro Bowl seasons in 1995. He never matched the same type of magic in the four years, though he was still a very good player. Irvin began making headlines for the wrong reasons at that time, including sexual assault investigations, cocaine busts, and other bizarre behavior that continued long after his career. Irvin meant a lot to the Cowboys, but he could also be a headache. 

Irvin has never shied away from speaking about his past, and he recounted how wild things were at one point, not just for him but for his teammates during an infamous incident.

“The White House” causes headlines

On Joe Buck’s show, Undeniable, Micahel Irvin spoke about a house he and some teammates bought together near the Cowboys’ practice field. While that could theoretically be a smart move for players who wanted a place to stay nearby, there were other motives involved with the house, which they christened “The White House.”

The White House was a place where Cowboys‘ players could stay for sexual exploits and partying, and they were doing so just a stone’s throw from the practice facility. Irvin claims that it was meant to be a low-key place where they could take potential partners without hotels and noise, but they were eventually caught. Irvin recounted how Jones reacted when word got out and “The White House” created headlines.

Why Jerry Jones stuck by Michael Irvin amid scandal

Michael Irvin's involvement in a sex scandal wasn't enough to sever his relationship with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
Jerry Jones as a reflection in Michael Irvin’s sunglasses. | Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There were reports of not only sex, but drugs, including a video purportedly showing Irvin snorting cocaine, and the result was a PR nightmare. Jerry Jones approached Irvin about the house, asking him to be honest with him about what it was for. Irvin claims he was forthright with his boss for his answer.

“I thought long and hard,” Irvin said. “I was like, ‘Wow. Man, they done found out about The White House.’ And I said to him, I said, ‘Boss, I was trying to do the wrong thing the right way.'”

Jones recounted a similar version of the meeting in 2016, and when he did, he explained why he let it go. 

“How do you stay mad at someone who gives you a comment like that?” he asked The Dallas Morning News.

It appears as though that is why Michael Irvin and Jerry Jones maintain a good relationship. Irvin might have caused him undue stress with his antics, but there was an earnestness in his response to the ones he had when he was with the team that struck a chord with Jones. Right or wrong, the two appear to think the world of each other 20 years after Irvin hung up his cleats for good, and this story illustrates why.