Indianapolis Colts owner, and avid social media user, Jim Irsay, was arrested Sunday night when he was pulled over for a DUI, and upon search of the vehicle police found illegal prescription pills in his possession. He is being held at Hamilton Country Jail in Nobelsville and faces four counts of felony possession of a controlled substance, as well as the DUI; he failed several sobriety tests administered by officials on the side of the road. This distraction does not come at a good time as the NFL is in the thick of free agency as well as preparing for the draft. The league is expected to punish the Indianapolis Colts owner as he falls under the the umbrella that all league players and officials are expected to follow a certain conduct.
This is not the outspoken owner’s first run in with prescription drugs. In 2002 he admitted that he was battling an addition to prescription pain killers. The 54-year-old team owner went through many years of painful surgeries and had many procedures that resulted in him becoming reliant on pain killers. That summer of 2002 he went to a rehabilitation center to seek help and had, before this past Sunday, been clean of, and considered fully recovered from, his addiction.
Sunday night, at 11:41 pm, police pulled over a car after it changed lanes without signaling, suspecting the driver to be under the influence. Police administered sobriety tests on the driver, Jim Irsay, arrested him for a DUI and found many prescription pill bottles in his possession, the contents of which were not what was on the label. The contents in the pill bottles were considered schedule four controlled substances, which are illegal to have without a prescription. The Indianapolis Colts owner’s bond was set for $22,500 and he is expected to post bail this afternoon. The Indianapolis Colts have released very little details of the incident so far, only posting a comment that says they’re still gathering all the details and will update as new information comes in, as well as thanking fans for all the support.
Back in 2013, Jim Irsay tweeted that he was indeed still clean and does not drink or use drugs. He was under fire by angry fans after his Indianapolis Colts defeated the Denver Broncos and he made a statement alluding that they let Peyton Manning go because they wanted more than one Super Bowl win. This created a media fire storm and led to some fans on Twitter attacking the owner for his past run ins with addiction. The owner responded, after many other tweets, that he is hard at work and not drinking at all.
The incident is obviously a distraction, but what is more concerning for the team is what type of punishment the NFL may give out. Jim Irsay is expected to follow the league’s specific conduct policy, which is not favorable to those arrested for DUI or any type of illegal possession, like prescription pills, and may be fined or suspended for his actions. The NFL commissioner has the ultimate decision on what the penalty will be. If the league finds that the Indianapolis Colts owner is not guilty of circumstances that cause bodily harm to himself or others, or harms the integrity of the league, then the fine for first time offenders is usually not as severe. The Indianapolis Colts owner was not swerving his vehicle, rather he was pulled over for not signaling when he changed lanes, resulting in the eventual DUI. However, Jim Irsay does have a history of prescription pill abuse and his possession could result in a larger fine. In the mean time, facts are still being gathered till the prolific owner is released and can address the issue himself.
Commentary by Chris Dragicevich