Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin says his womanizing may have stemmed from seeing an older brother whom he idolized dressed as a woman and learning the brother was gay.
In the latest issue of Out magazine, Irvin said he was 12 when he discovered his older brother Vaughn's secret life. He said his father told him: "Yes, that's your brother. And you love your brother."
The former Dallas Cowboys star now appears on the NFL Network and on his own radio show in Miami. He has supported same-sex marriage on his radio show and has said he's waiting for an active player in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL to declare publicly that he is gay.
"Until we do that, we're going to be stuck in the Dark Ages about a lot of things," Irvin told the magazine. "When a guy steps up and says, 'This is who I am,' I guarantee you I'll give him 100 percent support."
Irvin said carrying the burden of Vaughn's secret gives him a hint of how tough it must be for a homosexual athlete to hide his orientation in a locker room.
"If I'm not gay and I am afraid to mention it, I can only imagine what an athlete must be going through if he is gay," Irvin said. "I would like to see players come forward and be happy with who they are. Hopefully, as we move forward, we'll get to a place where there's no way it's even considered; it just is what it is and everybody can do what they do. That's the ultimate goal."
Irvin said he believes the fast life he's led was to accentuate his heterosexuality.
He said he wanted everyone in the locker room to see him have the most women and the nicest car "so that everybody says, 'Michael's the man.'"
Irvin said he remained close to his brother, a bank manager, until his death in 2006. He was 49 when he died of stomach cancer.
Former Eagles dies
Ralph Goldston, one of the first African-Americans to play for the Philadelphia Eagles, died Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. The former running back/defensive back was 82.
NFL Draft: Former Georgia tailback Caleb King, ruled academically ineligible, says he is entering the NFL's supplemental draft.
Titans: Wide receiver Kenny Britt has pleaded not guilty to three disorderly person charges stemming from a June arrest in New Jersey.