(CBS) Many around the NFL believe Colts owner Jim Irsay will be suspended for six to eight games for his arrest on charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, according to a report.
Irsay is also expected to be fine about $1 million.
This is a unique situation, as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has often come down hard on players who run afoul of the law but hasn’t faced such an ordeal with a team order. It’s still not clear what a suspension of an owner would constitute.
Would Irsay just be prevented from attending games? Would he be banned from the team facility throughout the suspension? If he’s suspended during a meeting of NFL owners, would the Colts lose their vote? Would the Colts lose their share of the league’s TV revenues from those six to eight weeks, just as players who are suspended lose their salaries for those weeks? Losing half a season’s worth of revenue would be a whole lot more than a $1 million fine. A $1 million fine is a rounding error to a billionaire like Irsay.
In his first extensive public comments since his March arrest, Irsay described to the Indianapolis Star the challenges he’s faced in battling addictions.
“These diseases, both alcoholism and addiction, much like bipolar or depression and different illnesses, are still not seen as real diseases,” Irsay told the Star. “People shy away from seeking help because it’s viewed as being somewhat morally off the path, that they’ve lost their way. I really think the disease aspect gets lost when you’re talking about alcoholism and addiction; it’s not like you’re battling leukemia or a heart problem; it is that. But even in 2014, there’s still this stigma.
“… That stigma gets carried forward, and it’s unfortunate because people die and families get affected and people don’t seek treatment. It’s an unusual disease in the sense that the person has to diagnose himself. He has to realize that there’s this genetic disease you have to deal with through treatment. My grandfather and father both died of the disease, and you realize you’ve spent a lot of time on this path. Certainly, I have. But with the disease, surgery and pain management can be very tricky waters.”