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NFL suspends Irsay 6 games, fines him $500,000

Irsay Pleads Guilty To One Misdemeanor


By RICK CALLAHAN

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) -- The NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay for the first six games of the season Tuesday and fined him $500,000 for violating its personal conduct policy, coming down hard just hours after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from an embarrassing March traffic stop.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Irsay is barred from team facilities, practices and games and cannot represent the Colts and NFL meetings or events. The fine levied Tuesday is the maximum allowed under league rules.

"I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players," Goodell told Irsay in a letter released publicly by the NFL. "We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard."

There was no immediate comment on the punishment from Irsay, who pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated. The 55-year-old Irsay admitted to a Hamilton County judge that he was under the influence of the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone when he was arrested March 16 near his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel.

Irsay will be on probation for a year and is prohibited from drinking or possessing alcohol during that time. His driver's license also was suspended for one year. Judge J. Richard Campbell asked Irsay about his history of prescription drug troubles.

"Yes, I've had it in the past ... when I was dealing with the effects after having surgery," Irsay said in court. He left the courtroom with his attorneys after the hearing.

Andre Miksha, the Hamilton County chief deputy prosecutor, said Irsay's case wasn't handled differently than the 1,100 intoxicated driving cases the office handles each year.

But his case was closely watched around the NFL - not least among players - because there are few examples of the league punishing an owner like Irsay. Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was suspended for 30 days and fined $100,000 in 2010 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy following his guilty plea to driving while impaired. A player with a first-offense misdemeanor DUI would not be suspended and would be fined no more than $50,000 under terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.

Carmel police said Irsay was arrested after an officer spotted him driving slowly, stopping in the roadway and failing to use a turn signal. Officers said he had trouble reciting the alphabet and failed field sobriety tests. Various prescription drugs were found in his vehicle, along with more than $29,000 in cash.

Irsay acknowledged in 2002 that he had become dependent on painkillers after several years of orthopedic operations but said he had overcome the problem. Less than 48 hours after his March arrest, the Colts said Irsay had entered a treatment facility. He resumed his duties with the Colts at the NFL draft in May and even made an unsuccessful personal pitch to his fellow owners on behalf of Indianapolis' bid to host the 2018 Super Bowl.

Irsay became the Colts owner in 1997 after the death of his father, Robert Irsay, and a lengthy legal battle with his father's second wife. Forbes magazine has estimated Irsay's net worth at $1.6 billion.

He has helped build the Colts into a top NFL team over the past decade behind quarterback Peyton Manning, now with Denver, and was a key player in the drive to bring the Super Bowl to Indianapolis two years ago. He is working with some success to rebuild the team behind young quarterback Andrew Luck while coping with a divorce that follows a decade-long separation from his wife of 33 years.

Irsay told the judge he is still under the care of a doctor and an orthopedic specialist who prescribe medications for him. Under terms of his probation, Irsay must provide officials with all current medication prescriptions. The NFL said Irsay will be subject to ongoing treatment, counseling and testing as determined by doctors.

Irsay, who is active on social media, is also forbidden from discussing the Colts or NFL on his Twitter account.

Join the discussion

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Richard September 02 2014 at 3:53 PM

Oh, by all means, fine him the maximum allowed but don't touch these players who pummel their wives and girlfriends and commit felonies. The NFL sucks and is a disgusting group.

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2 replies
jdsept Richard September 02 2014 at 5:35 PM

NFL changed their policy as to women beating. Also this guy pleaded guilty to a crime. No charges were even brought against the Raven receiver, like it or not. The Raven guy technically by law was guilty of nothing. If harsher penalty, he probably would have went to civil court and sued the NFL. I am not defending the raven player but just pointing out reality. No charges, no crime?

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1 reply
sharisez jdsept September 03 2014 at 3:41 AM

He was on tape assaulting the woman. He was guilty of a crime, they just didn't charge him which is utter bullshit.

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Edaugie Richard September 02 2014 at 6:55 PM

Richard, I couldn't have said it better myself

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fredlynn07 September 02 2014 at 4:42 PM

He got fined $500,000 for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor? Wow, people who get caught using steroids get 4, 6 and 12 game suspension, beat up your wife or girl friend - 2 games. By the way, he owns the team - so what is a 6 game suspension suppose to do anyway?

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2 replies
aswengin fredlynn07 September 02 2014 at 4:53 PM

White Owner gets it stuck up his address
for misdemeanor. Black player gets a 2
game suspension for whipping on his wife.
Eric Holder loves this decision.

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jdsept fredlynn07 September 02 2014 at 5:30 PM

aswengin has not one thing to do with Holder or federal law. GET A LIFE

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trr48 September 02 2014 at 6:09 PM

Ok this has gotten out of hand. F the NFL. He is the owner. He can pretty do whatever he wants. This is a legal problem. NOT an NFL problem. Enough. Get rid of the NFL Nazies.

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1 reply
jdsept trr48 September 02 2014 at 6:18 PM

So was the Raven player beating his woman a legal problem not an NFL problem. So was Vick and the dogs. Should the NFL not have punished either of them also?

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bigshadyobama September 02 2014 at 11:38 PM

NEXT TIME BEAT UP THE WIFE...THATS ONLY TWO GAMES...

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lov2elkhnt September 02 2014 at 6:13 PM

Hey Roger, don't forget to schedual the UAs and Blood tests for all the writers and tv media mutts to make sure their as straight as they say the players are supposed to be, Make those who can't perform be as sober as they think the plaayers ought to be.

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1 reply
jdsept lov2elkhnt September 02 2014 at 6:19 PM

Duuh The NFL has not one bit of control over writers or TV media. What planet YOU live on? You going to punish media which sells your product? Learn reality.

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Peter September 02 2014 at 5:31 PM

who owns the team goodell so what his personal life should be left out of it it was not football season goodell is a jerk and we the people will pay the price

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1 reply
jdsept Peter September 02 2014 at 6:16 PM

Pay what price? The guy has how much money to begin with? You don't pay a dime if YOU don't go to Colts games. HELLO

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mkraven77 September 03 2014 at 7:38 AM

It's about time the punishment went to the top .Now let's get everyone in congress and the senate to take a drug and alcohol test. Who would be the last man standing

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Denny September 03 2014 at 7:15 AM

Make him sell the team....he put people at risk drinking and driving

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ralph1478 September 03 2014 at 8:04 AM

I belong to the local Homebuilders Association so that gives them the right to tell me what I can drink or how I should act?

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sharisez September 03 2014 at 3:40 AM

Guess he should have waited to get home and just beat his wife instead.

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