Shame On You, Jim Irsay
By Lance Conklin
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested and booked about 3 a.m. Monday on DUI and drug possession charges. Irsay now faces four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and another charge of driving while intoxicated. The bond set for these charges was $22,500. Those are the facts.
I have major concerns with every aspect of this and here's why. As a law enforcement officer, the bond set in this case is embarrassing.
In my experience, if an average citizen gets arrested for a non-violent felony the bond is usually set anywhere between $10,000 to $20,000. Irsay has four felonies, and a DUI. The DUI alone puts other citizens at risk. Obviously he is not a flight risk but that is besides the point. His bond should have been at least $50,000. That is just the criminal side of things.
Like Billy Madison (the movie starring Adam Sandler), Irsay inherited the family business. In this case it was the Indianapolis Colts franchise. Irsay inherited the team in 1997 due to his father Robert Irsay's unexpected death. Right now Irsay's net worth is $1.6 billion; not too shabby for something given and not earned. Also like Billy Madison, Irsay has been known to be no stranger to drugs and alcohol. His past has been well documented by Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz.
Now it's time to get real. Jim Irsay portrays himself as an immature, irresponsible 54-year-old man. First off, if you're worth $1.6 billion dollars why are you driving yourself around while under the influence. You mean to tell me you couldn't find somebody to drive you? I don't buy it. Strike one.
Being the owner of an NFL franchise you are basically the parent of the team; much like the mother/father to a child. Whatever you do has an impact on those you control. In no way shape or form can you discipline players or staff on your team when you go out and get charged with four felonies and a DUI. The NFL has been trying to control the actions and mentality of its young players for years and then this happens. Way to set an example for your players and staff. Strike two.
The public perception to this incident is that if you're rich you can do whatever you want and get away with it. This is nothing new, celebrities and media personalities have been doing it for decades. However, when you're the owner of a NFL team, that changes things. Fans and followers don't just blow it off, this is different to them. Fans pay money to come see what your father built and this is how you repay them? Disrespectful and ungrateful. Strike three.
Nobody hands someone an NFL franchise unless they're responsible enough to run it. A man worth $1.6 billion has plenty of people in his inner circle that would know if a true problem exists. If this has truly been a problem for years, it should have been fixed when it was first discovered. Shame on those who knew and did nothing. No question NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will come down on Irsay, as he should. Irsay has already entered a treatment facility which almost certainly would've been mandated by Goodell. Hefty fines and possible loss of draft picks could also be in the works. It's unfortunate the players and coaching staff who work hard year round have to suffer the consequences of a man who cannot control his personal life.
This will be nothing but a distraction for a young Colts team expected to be a contender in the AFC.