Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Irsay has been suspended by the NFL for 6 games and has to pay the league a $500, 000 fine for his guilty plea of driving while intoxicated and being in possession of a controlled substance. In March, Irsay was found by the police driving erratically, and when stopped, he was incoherent, unable to recite the alphabet.
The court ruled that he would avoid jail time, but must continue treatment. Irsay checked into rehab shortly after his arrest. He will have to pay $368.50 in court costs and fees. It seems that the NFL is giving Irsay a harsher penalty than the courts.
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NFL Commissioner Robert Goodell said Irsay’s arrest and behavior violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, and it reserved the right to hold coaches to a higher standard than players. He will be allowed to attend games starting on October 9th, but he is not allowed to conduct interviews on behalf of the NFL or participate in NFL-related social media for the duration of the suspension.
Jim Irsay made a compelling statement: “I acknowledge the mistake I made last March and stand responsible for the consequences of the mistake, for which I sincerely apologize to our community and to Colts fans everywhere. Even more importantly, though I am committed to doing everything in my power to turn this whole experience to a positive experience for myself, my family and the community. In retrospect, I know the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on the path to regaining my health. I truly hope and pray this episode will help diminish the stigma surrounding our country’s deadly and terrible problem of addiction. It is a disease like other progressive, terminal diseases-one that can only be successfully treated through 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 caregivers and our great community. Please know I am firmly committed to good health and I look forward to a great season.”
Irsay admitted he had become addicted to painkillers as the result of orthopedic problems, had gone off the pills some years ago, but apparently had a relapse. For those wondering about the Jewish connection: Irsay’s father was a Hungarian Jew, but he didn’t discover his father’s Jewish roots until he was a teenager.