When Jim Irsay was busted for a DUI and drug possession in March, speculation started to spread about whether or not Irsay, whose substance abuse issues have been both public and well-documented, would be treated as harshly as some of the NFL players who have recently fallen foul of the league’s drug and alcohol policies — most notably Josh Gordon, who was suspended for the entirety of the 2014 NFL season after testing positive for marijuana, his second violation of the policy.
Irsay’s punishment wasn’t that severe in length, as he’s suspended from all team activity for six games, but he was given a $500,000 fine that hits the upper limit on what the league can fine owners — ten times the limit on what they can fine players. Irsay was officially hit with violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Saying that he’d give a statement later in the day, the Colts owner denied comment as news of the fine and suspension surfaced.
The Colts were recently valued at $1.4 billion by Forbes, so it’s not as if this will seriously impact Irsay or the team’s bottom line. If this feels like a big-on-paper, small-in-practice fine and punishment, that’s because it is. Remember, unlike players, Irsay is still going to make money over the course of his suspension; he’ll simply need to operate via a proxy for the official team business that he’s being forced to take a month and a half long vacation from.