The Indianapolis Colts continue to sit and wait to hear about how team owner Jim Irsay will be punished for his arrest in March. Irsay was eventually charged with two misdemeanor counts of impaired driving. He has his initial hearing on June 19th.
What is odd about this whole situation is how the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have yet to punish Irsay. Granted, an owner being in this sort of situation is unprecedented, but it really shouldn’t take this long for Goodell to come up with an appropriate punishment.
It has been over two weeks since Irsay was formally charged, and days since he had his license suspended for a year.
Current reports indicate that Goodell may suspend Irsay for six to eight games and fine him $1 million.
While that seems like an appropriate punishment for a man of Irsay’s title and importance to the league, it apparently isn’t enough for some people.
Jeffri Chadiha of ESPN posted a piece today on why Goodell should take draft picks away from the Colts as punishment for Irsay’s indiscretion. His point is that this would cement Goodell’s credibility, and power, despite there being zero precedent for something along these lines.
First off, I highly recommend that you DON’T read the comments section as Colts fans will likely suffer a rage stroke from all the collective idiocy. To those making comments over at ESPN, please make sure you understand the case. Irsay wasn’t drunk and was only charged with two misdemeanors.
Chadiha points out that banishing Irsay from six to eight games won’t impact the franchise or really resonate with the owner on a deep level. That would be true, if Irsay wasn’t involved in the day-to-day operations. This isn’t a businessman who happens to own a pro team, this is his life. The franchise is basically all that Irsay has outside of his family.
For a man so ingrained in his team, not being able to be involved for a period of time will drive him crazy. Imagine being banned for weeks from doing what you love the most in life.
Chadiha goes on to say that the precedent for stripping a team of draft picks was set by the punishment of the New Orleans Saints for Bounty Gate and the New England Patriots for Spygate.
Unlike the events surrounding Spygate or Bounty Gate, Irsay didn’t do anything that threatened the integrity of the game. He didn’t video tape his opponent’s practices or play calling. He also didn’t set up a system of bonuses for injuring opposing players. The only reason these things are related is that they both involve people in the NFL.
There is also no way you can can compare this to Donald Sterling’s racist rant. None. One was a minor criminal issue and the other was the last straw from a man with a history of racism. Yes, NBA commissioner Adam Silver punished Sterling harshly, but it was decades overdue.
Irsay’s arrest didn’t spawn a discussion about substance abuse in the country or nearly prompt a boycott of a playoff game or even public protests by players. Sterling gave the NBA a massive black eye that has all the owners on edge. Irsay’s misdemeanors are largely forgotten and won’t even be a footnote in history.
The fan base and team shouldn’t suffer for the indiscretions of one man, be it owner or player.
The only thing that I agree with Chadiha with is the fine. A $1 million fine doesn’t really impact someone who is worth billions and makes significantly more than a million annually.
Docking the Colts draft picks is a punitive measure that doesn’t fit the crime. It would be akin to suspending a player for a whole season just for possession. Irsay won’t be serving a jail sentence and didn’t hurt anyone, so why should the team suffer so much for such a small crime?
And if Colts fans are really worried about Goodell taking away picks, it won’t matter as GM Ryan Grigson clearly doesn’t value them based on recent trades and the past two drafts.