Falls From Grace
At the top of his game in 1995, Irvin's world came crashing down in 1996. On March 3, 1996, two days before his thirtieth birthday, Irvin was arrested in a room at a Residence Inn in Irving, Texas, where cocaine and marijuana were found. Known for his heavy indulgence, Irvin was in the company of teammate Alfredo Roberts and two young women whose professions were noted as topless "models." Police found close to three ounces of marijuana and nearly four ounces of cocaine on two dinner plates, along with rolling papers, razors, other drug paraphernalia and sex toys. According to Sports Illustrated, when the police officers pulled out the handcuffs, Irvin rebuffed them saying, "Hey, can I tell you who I am?"
From that moment Irvin's life became a media circus, with Irvin himself adding fuel to the fire by showing up to court in a full-length black mink coat and dark sunglasses. The whole ordeal became even more unbelievable when a Dallas police officer was arrested for conspiring to murder Irvin. The officer's common law wife was called before the Grand Jury to testify because her name had appeared in the motel's log along with Irvin's on numerous occasions. Another topless model, the woman testified at length about Irvin's drug and sex habits. Irvin found out about the testimony and allegedly threatened the woman. The police officer in turn reportedly paid $3,000 down on $30,000 to put a hit on Irvin.
Irvin went to trial on drug-related charges, but before the decision was turned over to the jury, he agreed to a plea bargain, pleading guilty to cocaine possession, a second-degree felony, that cost him $10,000 and 800 hours of community service. On July 17, 1996, the day the trial ended, Irvin held a news conference and was, for the first time, contrite. His wife was at his side although she had never appeared with him in court, and Irvin publicly apologized to his family, fans, teammates, and the Dallas organization. Suspended for the first five games of the 1996 season, Irvin spent time in Florida trying to make amends with his family.
Irvin continued to make periodic headlines. In December of 1996 he and a teammate were falsely accused of rape, and in 1998 he was involved in a bizarre incident during training camp when he allegedly inflicted a two-inch cut in the neck of Dallas guard Everett McIver while some team members were getting haircuts. Whether it was assault or "horseplay," McIver did not press charges, and rumors swirled that Jones brokered a six-figure settlement with McIver to drop the matter.
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