Dec 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks at halftime of the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Houston 25-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
The NFL didn’t wait long to issue a punishment for Jim Irsay following his plea deal. Irsay will be suspended for the first six games of the season and fined $500,000 by the league.
Irsay pled guilty this morning to one misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to one year of probation where he is subject to random drug tests.
Per the league’s suspension, Irsay “may not be present at the club’s facility, may not attend any practices or games, may not represent the club at league or league committee meetings or at any other team or league event, and may not conduct media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters.”
The suspension begins Wednesday at 5 p.m. and ends on October 9th.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell added to the official release with his own statement:
“I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players,” Goodell said. “We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard.”
Irsay issued his own statement on the incident and punishment:
"I acknowledge the mistake I made last March and stand responsible for the consequences of that mistake, for which I sincerely apologize to our community and to Colts fans everywhere. Even more importantly, though, I am committed to do everything in my power to turn this whole experience into a positive event for myself, my family, and the community.In retrospect, I now know that the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on the path to regain my health. I truly hope and pray that my episode will help in some small measure to diminish the stigma surrounding our country’s terrible and deadly problem of addiction. It is a disease like other progressive, terminal diseases — one that can only be successfully treated by understanding, committed hard work, and spiritual growth. I am deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support during these past few months from my family, friends, care-givers, and our great community. Please know I am firmly committed to staying on my path to good health and I look forward to a great season."
Carlie Irsay-Gordon will take over day-to-day operation while her father serves out the suspension.
This is almost exactly what was expected and deserved for Irsay’s actions. He was held to a higher standard and will be accountable for his actions going forward. If he violates probation, he’ll serve jail time and I wouldn’t be surprised if the NFL took the team away from him permanently.
If a player were to suffer a first offense misdemeanor DUI, they wouldn’t receive a suspension and would only be subject to a $50,000 fine. Also keep in mind that the $500,000 fine is the maximum that can be handed down without special permission.
Many in the national media are saying the six game suspension means nothing, and to them I say that they don’t know Jim Irsay. The Colts are his life. He has lived and breathed this team since he was a child and doesn’t know anything other than football.
He is integral in all decisions made by the team and has his hands in every aspect of operations. The six game suspensions takes away what he loves most and will cut him deeper than any fine would have.
Now the Colts can focus on football and move on from this embarrassing incident. Hopefully Irsay gets the help he needs and leads a clean lifestyle for years to come.