Taking A Closer Look At The Michael Irvin Gun Threat StoryS

Michael Irvin, a black pickup and a robbery averted by Cowboys small talk; the story that inspired a nation. But barely 48 hours into the news cycle, the thing is already showing leaks.

Irvin's alleged encounter with a pair of would-be robbers while parked at a stop sign in North Dallas is being treated with the utmost reverence just about everywhere. If Irvin's not a hero, he's close to it. But excuse me for fishing a couple of flies out of this punch bowl. To wit: Irvin didn't report the incident until the following day, more than 24 hours after Monday's supposed confrontation. And he reported it by flagging down a police car. What?

From The Smoking Gun, which pulled the police report:

Strangely, though the incident reportedly happened Monday evening, Irvin did not contact cops until 5:51 PM Tuesday afternoon, according to Corporal Kevin Janse, a Dallas Police spokesman. Janse told TSG that Irvin "flagged down" a cop, but he did not know where that occurred.

Additionally, though Irvin told reporters today that he carried on a conversation with the suspects for several minutes (topics included the Cowboys and the NFL playoffs) before the would-be assailants sped off, the police report does not reflect that banter. After interviewing Irvin, police wrote in their report that when one suspect recognized him and called out his name, "suspect two put down the gun and the suspects drove away."

Now add this morsel: Irvin didn't even file the police report until after talking about the incident on his radio show on ESPN radio 103.3 in Dallas. That's where we get this rather remarkable, head-scratching quote:

On whether he filed a police report, Michael says, "I did not. I did not. I did not file a police report. I didn't want to make much of a story out of it outside of sharing it on the radio, but I will tell you this and I said it on the air: They were in a black pickup truck. I know a lot of people drive black pickup trucks but it's the only warning I can give and I didn't get a license plate, so I feel bad about that."

Yes, he did not want to make a big deal out of it besides agreeing to every interview he could jam into Wednesday's news cycle. Here you see him with a starry-eyed Ellen Goldberg of KXAS in Dallas, where Irvin repeated the part about not being able to ID the assailants' truck.

"He put [the gun] away because he recognized me and said 'Hey, Mike Irvin! Wassup Mike Irvin, man. We're big Cowboy fans!' I can't help feeling like a coward. Even when he sped off I still did not get that license plate."

Goldberg, during her intro: "Known as The Playmaker, Irvin knew that his next play may be his most important one yet."

Well, that part of it is true. Bumped from ESPN's Bristol showcase and consigned to drive-time radio, wouldn't it behoove Irvin to get his name back in lights? How could this story not be considered with just a pinch of skepticism? They're even talking about that at his own station. From 103.3, home of the Michael Irvin Show:

1100 - Kevin opens the show saying his television viewing was interrupted by the local news leading their show with Michael Irvin almost getting car-jacked! This morning reports come out that maybe it was a "hoax". Who would lie about having a gun pulled on them?

Not sure of the exact nature of those "reports," but the fact that they even mentioned it is telling. Meanwhile, commenters on the Cowboys Blog at the Dallas Morning News greeted the story with warmth and compassion:

• Yeah okay. THIS is believeable. WHO sits there and has a friendly chat with a bunch of thugs who have just put away their semi-automatic which they just threatened you with? Give me a freaking break. Michael needs another 15 minutes of fame to boost his ratings. — doubtful @ 9:44 AM Wed, Jan 14, 2009

• If you believe Irvin's BS story, I got swampland in Arizona going for a nickel an acre with a view of golden Gate bridge. Remember pipe found in Irvin's car...it's my brothers...brother said ain't mine...story got changed to a man who is like a BROTHER to me. Test is Irvin lying? are his lips moving? YES, then he is lying. — Irvin is a LIAR @ 9:44 AM Wed, Jan 14, 2009

• Boy, Pacman is really getting desperate these days... — Truth @ 9:37 AM Wed, Jan 14, 2009

UPDATE: Just received an email from Bob Sturm, radio sports host at The Ticket 1310 in Dallas:

The biggest question to me is how did the incident end? Did they have a discussion about the Cowboys, have him sign their guns, and then drive away? And, Mike did not think to get a license number or anything? What a boring life I must live that I have never talked Cowboys while someone points a gun at me. — Bob

Old Cowboy Avoids Gunfight [The Smoking Gun]

Michael Irvin And A Pointed Gun (At Him) [Dallas Morning News]