The NFL has suspended Jim Irsay for six games to go with a hefty fine after the Indianapolis Colts owner pleaded guilty to a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported news of the punishment Tuesday:
Irsay provided an initial statement following the suspension and fine, courtesy of Eye on Football via Twitter:
Irsay was arrested in March for operating a vehicle while intoxicated as well as four counts of possession of a controlled substance, according to Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports. Mark Alesia and Phil Richards of The Indianapolis Star reported the details of the plea bargain, which was made official on Tuesday:
Colts owner Jim Irsay will spend one year on probation after pleading guilty to driving under the influence.
During a change of plea hearing held this morning at the Hamilton County courthouse, Irsay entered a guilty plea for one misdemeanor charge of impaired driving stemming from his arrest by Carmel police on March 16. A similar charge was dropped.
Mike Wells of ESPN.com provided some additional information on the situation:
Before the suspension was announced, Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated provided a look at how this differs from normal punishments from the commissioner:
Shortly after the plea deal became official, the league released a full look at the punishment for Irsay, along with a letter from Roger Goodell. Here's a brief excerpt:
I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players. 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 is not allowed to go to the club's facility or attend any practices or games during the suspension. He will also be restricted on social media, as ESPN's J.A. Adande explains:
The good news for the Colts is that it will not affect the organization in the draft, via Rapoport:
Still, this is a relatively harsh penalty for Irsay, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports argues:
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman provides his take on the suspension:
On the other hand, ESPN's Linda Cohn wanted an even harsher punishment to send a message:
Mike Sando of ESPN.com certainly did not think the penalty was too bad:
As far as the fine is concerned, it was the most allowed by the current rules. However, Darren Rovell of ESPN notes this is not too significant for Irsay:
Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com believes players will not be happy with the punishment:
It is clear no one approves of Irsay's actions, although there seems to be a wide array of opinions concerning what the punishment should be for this crime.
Goodell will certainly hope this precedent will at least cause others to be more careful in their personal lives.
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