Dec 15, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks at halftime of the game against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Houston 25-3. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay Arrested

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Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested late last night on suspicion of DUI. Irsay faces four felony counts on charges of possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.

Irsay was initially stopped late last night in Carmel. He was booked into the Hamilton County Jail in Noblesville early this morning.

According to the arresting officer, Lt. Joe Bickel, Irsay was driving slowly, then in the roadway and failed to signal before turning.

Irsay has stated that he has been sober for the past 15 years.

In 2002, Irsay said that he had an addiction to pain killers. The addiction stemmed from a long series of orthopedic operations and procedures that caused chronic pain. He received treatment for his addiction at the time and stated he had beaten it.

If anyone has seen him lately, they know that he has been walking slowly and seems to be permanently stooped over. He looks much older than 54 and has lost a lot of weight (as you can see from the picture). Bob Kravitz, of the Indianapolis Star, mentioned that his weight loss was to help take the stress off his back.

Kravitz outlined the pattern of abuse in his piece today. Close friends have been pleading with him to get help for years now as they fear for Irsay’s life.

The Colts issued the following statement early this morning.

“We are gathering information at this time regarding last night’s incident involving Jim Irsay. The team will issue additional statements when the facts are sorted and we are aware of the next steps to this process. Many fans have reached out to express their concern and we appreciate their support.”

All NFL employees, including owners, are subject to the league’s personal conduct policy.

From the NFL policy, “(a)ll persons associated with the NFL are required to avoid ‘conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the National Football League.’ This requirement applies to players, coaches, other team employees, owners, game officials, and all others privileged to work in the National Football League.”

“Apart from any disciplinary action, persons arrested, charged, or otherwise appearing to have engaged in conduct prohibited under this policy generally will be required to undergo a formal clinical evaluation. Based on the results of that evaluation, the person may be encouraged or required to participate in an education program, counseling, or other treatment deemed appropriate by health professionals.”

It wouldn’t be a surprise if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a harsh penalty to the Colts’ owner. In 2010, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was suspended for 30-days and fined $100,000 for a DUI. The owners and management should be held to a higher standard than the players as they need to set an example for the younger players.

It is bad enough when millionaire players get behind the wheel of a car while impaired, but when an owner who is reportedly worth $1.6 billion does it its baffling. Irsay should have the good sense to, at the very least, hire a driver if he is going to continue to act this way.

It is clear, after this incident, that Irsay needs to get help. Thankfully no one was hurt last night and Irsay should check himself into rehab tomorrow. If he doesn’t get help voluntarily, the league needs to force it upon him. Irsay has a chance to prove how strong an individual he is by overcoming his addiction and could regain his leadership of the franchise and be a positive influence in the community.

Irsay was released at 1:30 today on a $22,500 bond. We will keep you up to date as this story continues to develop.

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