Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335

Michael Irvin’s Super Bowl Fiasco Reveals Flaws with Malevolent ‘Speak Your Truth’ Bills

WASHINGTON / April 1, 2024 – Just days before the 2023 Super Bowl, pro football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin was accused of sexual assault involving a female hotel staffer who approached him at a Phoenix hotel. The assault allegedly occurred during an encounter in the hotel lobby. In response, the NFL Network promptly removed Irvin from its Super Bowl coverage team (1).

Video surveillance of the encounter showed the two standing in the hallway two feet apart, with Irwin briefly touching her arm, and the two-minute conversation ending with a cordial handshake. There was no kiss, hug, or any other action that remotely resembled an “assault.” The entire video can be viewed online (2). Eye witness accounts likewise refuted the woman’s allegation (3).

In short, the accusation of sexual assault was a total and willful fabrication.

Irvin later commented, “That blows my mind that in 2023, we’re still dragging and hanging brothers by a tree. (I) know I didn’t do anything wrong” (4). In response, he filed a $100 million defamation lawsuit against the unnamed woman and the Marriott Hotel.

Irvin’s lawsuit was settled last September, allowing him to return to his former position at the NFL Network (the exact terms of the agreement were not announced). (5) But the damage had been done to Irvin’s reputation and career — as well as to the credibility of future victims of sexual assault.

The Michael Irvin saga reveals that women can and do make accusations of serious crimes with malicious intent. Catherine Comins, assistant dean at Vassar College, once commented coldly about men falsely accused of rape: “They have a lot of pain, but it is not a pain that I would necessarily have spared them.” (6) And Teen Vogue writer Emily Linden boasted, “I’m actually not at all concerned about innocent men losing their jobs over false sexual assault/harassment allegations.” (7)

Indeed, fabricated allegations of heinous crimes are being leveled against innocent Americans in record numbers. A 2023 survey found that 10% of Americans report they have been falsely accused of sexual assault, domestic violence, or child abuse (8).

Fortunately, victims of a false accusation have a legal recourse – the ability to file a defamation lawsuit.

But ironically, the feminist lobby is working to remove that protection. Across the nation, feminist groups are pushing for bills that seek to immunize liars from defamation claims by creating impossibly high standards of proof and imposing exorbitant damages on the unsuccessful plaintiff.
These bills often carry the preposterous title, “Speak Your Truth,” suggesting that the legal system should not seek to elucidate “the truth,” but rather accept a witness’ dubious assertions without question.

Last October, a ”Speak Your Truth” bill was passed into law in California (9). Such loopy bills have been introduced, but not approved, in six other states:
• Arizona: HB 2871
• Delaware: HB 327
• Hawaii: HB 1824 and SB 2683
• Illinois: HB 2836
• Minnesota: HF 3571 and SF 3529
• West Virginia: HB 5100

Lawmakers need to reject “Speak Your Truth” bills for denying the concept of “objective” truth, for granting special privileges to the accuser, and for creating a precedent for future legislation that would negate the Fourteenth Amendment’s promise of “equal protection” under the law.