Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts Franchise was arrested late last night under the preliminary charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance. The billionaire owner has not commented on the matter outside of a tweet stating “Deepest thx to family, friends, fans, colleagues for the messages of support, thoughts and prayers. Impossible to tell u how much this means”.
Irsay, who has a noted past in substance abuse, confirmed a 10 year sobriety in a 2012 interview with ESPN’s Hannah Storm. When asked the turning point in his addiction he replied “At some point, when you’ve fought this thing and it’s kicked your ass so much and its beat you so much, you get to the point where you say, OK, that’s it. I’m done. White flag’s going up.” You could infer from the preliminary charges, and ESPN’s list of alleged drugs Irsay as in possession of (Xanax, Darvocet and Ambien) without a prescription, that he has decided to step back in the ring. In addition to the substance charges, Irsay was charged with a DUI which would mean that he hopped off that wagon according to his own tweet last year “I don’t drink…haven’t in over 15 years.”.
What does all of this mean for the Indianapolis Colts? On the football field, this incident will probably not affect anything significantly. But the resulting publicity is tremendous. Sports media across the board are all calling for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to punish Irsay severely. With Goodell having made his recent reputation of no tolerance of misbehavior by the players, how will this reputation hold up when the person in need of punishment is his boss? Goodell answers to the 32 owners of the league, but will no doubt wait for the hearing next Wednesday that will carry Irsay’s formal charges.
Bill Polian, former Colt executive, now NFL analysts predicts that Irsay’s punishment will be similar to other executives who have been arrested, in that it will carry a suspension from his position and a fine.