40° Good Evening
40° Good Evening

Colts owner Jim Irsay suspended six games by NFL

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announces that Colts

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announces that Colts have fired vice chairman Bill Polian and general manager Chris Polian during a press conference at the NFL football team's practice facility in Indianapolis. (Jan. 2, 2012) Credit: AP

Just hours after pleading guilty in an Indiana court to one misdemeanor count of driving while impaired, Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for six games and fined $500,000 on Tuesday.

Irsay will be eligible to return to the team after the Colts' game against the Texans on Oct. 9.

Irsay, 55, was arrested on March 16 after a traffic stop in the Indianapolis suburb of Carmel. A toxicology report showed he had the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system at the time of the arrest.

The $500,000 fine is the maximum permitted under the NFL's constitution. Goodell could have levied a higher fine but only after seeking the approval of team owners.

During the suspension, which takes effect at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Irsay cannot be present at the team's facility, can't attend any practices or games, cannot represent the team at league meetings or any other league event and cannot conduct any media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters. Irsay frequently posts comments about the Colts and other issues on Twitter.

Irsay also will be subject to ongoing treatment, counseling and testing as determined by medical professionals and the Indiana court.

In a statement released shortly after the suspension announcement, Irsay said he took responsibility for his actions.

"I acknowledge the mistake I made last March, and stand responsible for the consequences of that mistake, for which I sincerely apologize to our community and to Colts fans everywhere," Irsay said. "Even more importantly, I am committed to doing everything in my power to turn this whole experience into a positive event for myself, my family and the community. In retrospect, I now know that the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on a path to regain my health."

Irsay said his problems stem from a longstanding addiction problem. He previously had been treated for an addiction to painkillers.

"I truly hope and pray that my episode will help in some small measure to diminish the stigma surrounding our country's terrible and deadly problem of addiction," Irsay said. "It is a disease like other progressive, terminal diseases - one that can only be successfully treated by understanding, committed hard work and spiritual growth."

No draft choice forfeiture was ordered by Goodell because the commissioner said Irsay's issues did not result in competitive consequences.

"I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players," Goodell wrote in a letter to Irsay. "We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard."

New York Sports