In the wake of the Robert Mathis suspension, many are left wondering when Colts owner Jim Irsay will meet a similar punishment. The NFL, and specifically commissioner Roger Goodell, have yet to take any action against Irsay and it is starting to trouble players.
According to the Indy Star, there is a large backlog at the Indiana Department of Toxicology where Irsay’s blood draws were sent following his arrest. It has been over two months since he was stopped in Carmel and the backlogs are the reason that Irsay hasn’t been formally charged with anything.
Without evidence of what was in his system, the Carmel Police Department won’t be able to charge Irsay.
“There have been no charges,” Goodell said. “So the answer is, until we have more information or more facts, we will let it play out.”
Makes sense. If Irsay hasn’t been charged, why punish him before due process has been met?
Well, it would hardly be the first time the NFL punished someone without the legal system moving forwards. Nor is Irsay the only one to embarrass the NFL this year and not yet suffer a suspension.
Ravens running back Ray Rice was caught on camera dragging his unconscious fiance out of an elevator and charged with aggravated assault. 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith was arrested for a false bomb threat at LA International Airport. Smith’s case hasn’t gone forward yet, but neither he nor Rice has been suspended or fined by the NFL.
Both could be punished under the personal conduct policy of the NFL, as should Irsay.
The problem is it isn’t being seen that way. The NFL has a tendency to come down hard and fast on players who violate the rules.
Former Steelers, and current Washington, safety Ryan Clark has recently become a staple on ESPN, often appearing on NFL Live, SportsCenter, and First Take. Clark believes that Goodell not coming down on Irsay more quickly is hypocritical.
“Right now, if Jim Irsay is going to represent this league, represent the Indianapolis Colts, going to be on TV at the owners meetings, trying to bring a Super Bowl to Indianapolis after what he’s done? It shows the hypocrisy of the NFL and also Roger Goodell in the way that he deals with players and the way he deals for the people he works for,” Clark said while on First Take.
“So when has having enough information been what Roger Goodell waits for to make these decisions?” Clark continued. “When does a charge necessarily warrant the penalty? We’ve seen in so many cases, Roger Goodell be judge and jury when it comes to players.
“So here we have Jim Irsay, a guy, an owner, who has history of substance abuse, who’s found in a car with over $29k and prescription drugs that weren’t in his name, pulled over for driving under the influence, and now we’re saying we need more information? What more information do we need then these aren’t your prescription pills? You’re obviously under the influence. You have $29k. There would be no questions asked if this was a player.”
Clark likely isn’t the only player with that sentiment either. The relationship between players and management has always been contentious, especially since the recent lockout.
It was surprising that Irsay’s first public appearance since the arrest was at the owner’s meeting in Atlanta. He also returned to the Colts in time for the draft.
The players will lose more and more faith in the NFL the longer Irsay goes without punishment. Goodell needs to act soon to avoid this becoming a bigger issue. It would also be helpful for the Colts to get some closure on this issue and allow the franchise to move forward, with or without Irsay.