After much anticipation and speculation, Jim Irsay's punishment from the NFL has been made public. Just hours after his guilty plea in court, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that Irsay would be suspended for six games, and will be fined $500,000. This is the maximum amount anyone can be fined under current league rules.
The fine is ten times that of the fine for the same infraction committed by a player. Goodell was quoted as saying, "Owners, management personell, and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players." It is the highest penalty given since 2007, which was received by Bill Belichick for the Patriots' spying scandal.
It also marks the first time an owner of a team has been suspended since 1999, when San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. plead guilty to an extortion case.
The penalty officially begins 5 P.M. Wednesday, after which Irsay can no longer be present at any Colt's facility, attend games or practices, represent the team in any way, conduct interviews with the media, or use social media to discuss the team.
Although many speculated that his punishment would include forfeiture of draft choices, Goodell has stated this was not the case because Irsay's infraction had no competitive consequences.
Another result of his suspension from the league is the provision that he continue to seek counseling and treatment for his drug abuse. A toxicology report showed that Irsay had both hydrocodone and oxycotin in his system. He will also not be allowed to consume alcohol while on probation.
Irsay will also have to face punishment from the state of Indiana. His sentence includes a 60 days in the Hamilton County Jail, court costs, and a 90 suspension of his drivers' license. Two of his jail days have been filled by time he spent in the jail after his arrest.
In a public statement, Irsay appeared to remain optimistic saying, "I am firmly committed to staying on my path to good health and I look forward to having a good season."
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