Michael Irvin is a member of the National Football League Hall of Fame who was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman three years ago, according to prosecutors who recently decided not to file charges.
The former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver sat down with "Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith on Friday to offer some insight into the dangers of being a high-profile sports star.
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Smith remarked that while Irvin wasn't a "choir boy" in his playing days, he didn't always have to look for trouble for trouble to find him.
Irvin said, "There's some truth to it that, and I don't know how many occupations where they actually print all of the salaries in the paper and in this tough economy, you're looking at these athletes, they're out having drinks and everything and you know they're making a lot of money, so it's a mixture for some trouble if you're not very careful."
Ben Roethlisberger, who was recently accused of sexual misconduct with a woman in an Atlanta-area nightclub, Irvin said he should have learned something from his previous encounter with a woman in Lake Tahoe. That case never went to trial, but a civil trial is pending, Smith said.
Irvin said he should have started to tighten his inner circle of guards.
"You start saying, 'Wow, I have to tighten my circle, make sure I put good people around me and people to watch over everything that goes on,'" he said, adding, "Ben did that in this situation. He brought the guards with him. But he made a mistake and allowed himself to be alone at any time with anybody without those security guards in the room."
Roethlisberger, Irvin said, should concentrate on the situation he's currently in, and not let anyone come near him.
"And be afraid," he said. "It's okay to be afraid because the reality is, we would like to think that you're innocent until proven guilty, but that's not necessarily the case when things do hit the paper like they're hitting the paper for Ben right now."
Irvin said the changes in the flow of information have really changed things for people in the spotlight.
"Before when people wanted to find stuff out, they had to go to the library and search it up and look for everything to find out whatever you had done in your past." He said, "Now today, they punch in your name, and they hit a button, enter, and everything comes up. You don't think about the mistakes at 20 (years old), how much you will regret them at 40. And at 40, you do regret those bad decisions."
Irvin said a player's confidence, which is essential on the football field, can backfire in life.
"Maybe sometimes when you get out, having a good time with your guys, you know, that testosterone starts running through our blood and you're having drinks, and then that confidence overflows off the football field," he said. "Now, it's great on the field -- but maybe not so great off the field."
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