NFL discipline possible for Jim Irsay

ByJeff Legwold via ESPN logo
Monday, March 24, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is subject to league discipline for his arrest last week on suspicion of intoxicated driving.

Goodell also said the he would wait "to understand the facts" before that decision is made.

"I think that is the first priority, that he is seeking help," Goodell said Monday at the NFL meetings. "He's done that voluntarily, that's, I think, the most important step at least initially. To my knowledge ... there are no formal charges at this point."

Goodell has long said the league's personal conduct policy, which doesn't require a guilty plea or verdict in a court case to be instituted by the commissioner, applies to all league and team personnel. Goodell's stance has always been the higher the authority of the person involved the higher the standard for discipline.

Irsay was arrested on March 16th in Carmel, Ind., and faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance. Irsay also faces a preliminary misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.

At the time of his arrest, police said Irsay failed several roadside field sobriety tests before he was arrested and that they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle. Irsay has since entered a treatment facility.

"We obviously will want to understand the facts before we take any steps as it relates to any potential discipline," Goodell said. "Obviously any policies or any laws that are broken, whether you're commissioner or owner or player or coach, those are subject to discipline."

If convicted on the felony charges, Irsay could face six months to three years in prison on each count.

In terms of league discipline, Goodell handed down a 30-day suspension to go with a $100,000 fine to Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand in 2010 following a guilty plea to driving while impaired.

In his absence Irsay's daughters -- Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Casey Irsay and Kalen Irsay -- are representing him at the league meetings, which run through Wednesday.

"He is someone who has grown up in this league, I think we're the identical age so we sort of grew up in this league together and he's someone who loves this game," Goodell said. "He brings an important perspective to it. But that's not the priority right now, the priority is for Jim to take care of the issues he's facing and deal with it. He also has a great organization that he's proud of and three girls that are very capable, smart and effective and they are in the room."