Jim Irsay has openly admitted to dealing with an alcohol and drug addiction in the past but the NFL team owner is now finally experiencing the consequences of his actions. The NFL recently announced that the owner of the Colts will be suspended for the team’s first games and will be fined $500,000 following his misdemeanor account of driving while under the influence of drugs.
Under the guidelines of the suspension, Jim Irsay may not be present at the club’s facility, attend any practices or games, represent the club at league or league committee meetings and may not conduct media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters. The fine of half a million dollars given to Irsay is the most allowed under the league’s constitution and by-laws.
DUI and Drug Dependency
Irsay was arrested earlier this year in March by Carmel Indiana police after they noticed him driving at a speed of 10 mph in a 35 mph zone, stopping in the middle of the road and failing to signal a turn. The NFL owner failed several roadside sobriety tests after being pulled over and police found multiple prescription drugs in his vehicle. Irsay first admitted to having an addiction to prescription painkillers in 2002 when he attended rehab for his problem with drug dependency. He became addicted to painkillers due to his issues of chronic pain which continue to remain a problem.
After his arrest blood tests revealed oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system. Since the incident of his arrest and charge of DUI Irsay has returned to rehab in recent months at several spots around the country. He has acknowledged he is still on some medication for his hip and back pain but he is being closely monitored by doctors who will eventually wean him off of these drugs. Irsay also agreed to random drug testing with the results being shared with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. He has also suffered from alcoholism in the past but has not had a drink in more than a decade.
Irsay Accepts His Punishment
It took several months for the NFL to finally decide what form of discipline to impose on Irsay following his charge of DUI. The NFL commissioner issued a statement saying that management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players. The commissioner also handed down the discipline to the Indianapolis Colts’ owner of the 6 game suspension and $500,000 fine. While Irsay is under suspension the daily operations team will be handled by COO Pete Ward, general manager Ryan Grigson and Irsay’s daughter Carlie Irsay-Gordon. Irsay accepted the discipline and issued a statement acknowledging his mistake and his responsibility for the consequences.
He also expressed a desire to change his life and address his issues of addiction and hoped that the incident would help to diminish the stigma surrounding drug addiction in the U.S. He wants to achieve a better state of good health by finally resolving his issues of drug dependency.
In spite of the sizeable fine and suspension, many NFL players are criticizing the punishment as being merely a slap on the wrist compared to the type of discipline that the athletes have received in the past. Players were dissatisfied about the fact that the league waited several months to announce his suspension when most NFL athletes are given quick and deliberate punishment for similar mistakes.
Many players are claiming that the commissioner Goodell uses a double standard when punishing players and team owners. After his six game suspension ends Irsay will return to his duties as team owner for the rest of the season. Jim Irsay