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Dungy feels for Irsay, but says Goodell has to discipline him

Jim Irsay AP

Former Colts coach Tony Dungy felt terrible when he learned that his old boss, Jim Irsay, was arrested for driving while intoxicated and drug possession.

I was heartbroken,” Dungy said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “I’ve known Jim Irsay for 13 years now. He’s a special guy to me — a person who is very self-sacrificing and would do anything for you. He did some unbelievable things for me, for my family, for the city of Indianapolis, and I just want him to do well. He’s struggling with some prescription painkillers and other medications — he made a big mistake. I was sad to see that but I’m hoping that this will be the silver lining in the cloud — he will reach out and get some help and grow from this.”

But while Dungy has sympathy for Irsay, he said there’s no doubt in his mind that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will hand down discipline, considering that Goodell has disciplined players, coaches and team executives who were arrested.

“I think they have to,” he said. “If the commissioner doesn’t step in with something I don’t think it will be good, so, yeah, something has to be done and hopefully everyone benefits from it.”

Dungy is right. We can simultaneously say that we hope Irsay gets the help he needs, and say that it’s totally unacceptable to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. Irsay deserves support while he gets that help, and he deserves the discipline he will surely get from Goodell.

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35 Responses to “Dungy feels for Irsay, but says Goodell has to discipline him”
  1. kneelbeforesod says: Mar 20, 2014 12:30 PM

    And all this time, I thought Twitter was his greatest vice.

  2. nfl4days says: Mar 20, 2014 12:35 PM

    He won’t.

  3. melikefootball says: Mar 20, 2014 12:38 PM

    For a man who wants to spend more time with family Dungy sure spends a lot of time on his take on everything.

  4. chapmanb2014 says: Mar 20, 2014 12:41 PM

    The better question is how do you discipline an owner who has vast wealth and can just have a member run the team for him in the event that he is suspended? So what if you fine him a million dollars….He donates more than that each year to charity anyways. So what if you suspend him for a full season? He will have his daughter or a close friend run the business for him while he takes a vacation.

  5. ickky says: Mar 20, 2014 12:42 PM

    How does one discipline somebody, who pays your salery.

  6. teal379 says: Mar 20, 2014 12:44 PM

    When did Tony Dungy become the Jiminy Cricket conscious of the NFL?

    I like the guy but the NFL and NFL based media has him set up like the Dalai Lama of the gridiron.

  7. robert831 says: Mar 20, 2014 12:57 PM

    It is not the NFL’s place to discipline an owner for this. He is not an employee of the league. He is a citizen and he’ll have to follow the law of the land.

  8. sidepull says: Mar 20, 2014 1:02 PM

    Dungy better hope he never has a fall from grace.
    He thinks he is way up there above us all.

  9. deflateddome says: Mar 20, 2014 1:14 PM

    The NFL Morality Officer has spoken…

  10. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 20, 2014 1:19 PM

    Again, I say, something has to be done with Mr. Irsay…But by Roger? He is the Business Administrator who works for the owners, and yet he’s going to discipline one of the owners?

    Like the Superintendent of schools giving detention to one of the Board of Education Members…???? I don’t see how an owner would allow their employee to discipline them….It’s what we call, Bass-Ackwards

  11. jtp13 says: Mar 20, 2014 1:20 PM

    “How does one discipline somebody, who pays your salery.”

    Because life isn’t all about money and just because one has more money doesn’t mean in any way, shape, or form that they have authority over someone with less of it. He obviously lacks the self-control and self-discipline himself, so it must be forced upon him by external sources. Too bad all that money cant buy him self-respect, health, or dignity.

  12. aceakking says: Mar 20, 2014 1:22 PM

    I agree. Irsay also needs to be disciplined for tanking the 2011 season.

  13. hehateme2 says: Mar 20, 2014 1:34 PM

    Is it just me or are others tired of hearing from Tony Dungy?

  14. Indybear says: Mar 20, 2014 1:39 PM

    Who cares what the hypocrite and proclaimed “moral compass” of the NFL has to say? This is the same guy who shopped around a felon and dog killer to EVERY team, yet has the stones to say he saw red flags with Incognito. Wants to spend more time with his family, but is plastered all over the TV and feels compelled to offer his “genius” on every topic under the sun. How or why he was on the HOF ballot is a mystery. Enough already!

  15. larryjames836 says: Mar 20, 2014 1:49 PM

    Owners made the rules so they must live by it, what good for players and coaches is also good the owners .

  16. damcmp says: Mar 20, 2014 2:00 PM

    Screw Dungy and screw Goodell…Irsay is an owner not and employee and they certainly aren’t his father… Let the Law punish him for the laws he has broken..

  17. mutantman87 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:01 PM

    Who cares what the hypocrite and proclaimed “moral compass” of the NFL has to say? This is the same guy who shopped around a felon and dog killer to EVERY team, yet has the stones to say he saw red flags with Incognito. Wants to spend more time with his family, but is plastered all over the TV and feels compelled to offer his “genius” on every topic under the sun. How or why he was on the HOF ballot is a mystery. Enough already!

    Vick went to prison and cleaned himself up. Everything he’s done in the 5 years he’s been out suggests that he’s sincere and remorseful. Incognito hasn’t quite fixed things yet, there is hope, but this guy was still doing the wrong things within the past year- bullying, putting a golf club into a woman’s genitals at a tournament- there is no evidence yet that he has changed. How is Tony Dungy a “hypocrite”? He’s also a pretty good coach, too. He made a moribund Tampa franchise into playoff team, and with the Colts, got a playoff team over the hump to win a Super Bowl.

    By the way, Incognito has lots of obvious red flags- kicked out of school at Nebraska and Oregon, dumped by the Rams and Bills. I don’t think Dungy’s the only one who regards those as “red flags.”

  18. annapterp says: Mar 20, 2014 2:02 PM

    I’m tired of everything Tony Dungy. I get that he worked for Irsay but NBC trots him out there every time there is a behavior issue in the NFL like he’s our moral compass. Give me a break please. This guy was a good to average coach and nothing more. I really don’t give a rats arse what he has to say.

  19. zeedoubleyou says: Mar 20, 2014 2:06 PM

    jtp13 says:

    “How does one discipline somebody, who pays your salery.”

    Because life isn’t all about money and just because one has more money doesn’t mean in any way, shape, or form that they have authority over someone with less of it. He obviously lacks the self-control and self-discipline himself, so it must be forced upon him by external sources. Too bad all that money cant buy him self-respect, health, or dignity.

    Angry bro? The question isn’t about money, it’s about the direct-report relationship between Goodell and the owners.

    This is analogous to Peter from Office space punishing one of his 8 (32 in this case) bosses.

  20. bornaraider60 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:10 PM

    Fine him 10 million and he has to hire a driver to go anywhere!

  21. thadamntruth says: Mar 20, 2014 2:14 PM

    The truth is punishment will not come down on Colt’s Owner until next week at the Owner’s Meeting in Orlando. Goodell has probably told all the owners to collectively come up with the right punishment and he will put his name on it.

  22. craniator says: Mar 20, 2014 2:16 PM

    Alright , guys — we get it: “Irsay has a lot of money and he made a mistake. Therefore , he’s a bad guy.” Got it ; glad you straightened that out for us.

  23. ampats says: Mar 20, 2014 2:23 PM

    Instead of keeping his moral opinion to himself, once again Friar Dungy gives his opinion to the world about a man who he says was a great support to himself and his family.Nice way to support someone who was there when the Dungy family went thru a terrible personal tragedy a few years ago.

    I can’t stand Tony Dungy going back to his holier than thou days as the Colts HC. If he was on fire, I don’t think Bill Belichick would spit on him.

  24. abninf says: Mar 20, 2014 2:26 PM

    I would like to get Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi’s take on this.

  25. orivar says: Mar 20, 2014 2:30 PM

    Irsay is an owner. What can you really do? He can pull his team out anytime though it isn’t likely.

  26. jtp13 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:31 PM

    “Angry bro? The question isn’t about money, it’s about the direct-report relationship between Goodell and the owners.

    This is analogous to Peter from Office space punishing one of his 8 (32 in this case) bosses.”

    Dude cant even control and take responsibility for himself but you expect him to do the same for others? He’s not a boss, he’s someone with a major problem who needs help.

  27. croghan1919 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:35 PM

    Irsay will have his day in court and will probably get probation and a fine just like every other first time law breaker of the same offences.
    Voluntarily checking into rehab his first day out of jail will sway the courts decision in Irsays favor. That will be the end of the legal battle.
    Irsay hasnt had much to do with the day to day ops of the team since he became the owner.
    Seems to me banning access to the Colts facility for the regular season and all Colts home games (8) would be about the right penalty for the OWNER. Fining the OWNER some cash just doesn’t seem LOGICAL to me.
    Taking one of his toys away for a time does.
    Goodel has to do something, he can’t just sweep under the rug.

    A Colt fan and Indy resident.

  28. smr5448 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:37 PM

    Perhaps we should wait to see what he is actually charged with during his court appearance next week. All charges to this point have been labeled preliminary. There has been no indication of a high blood alcohol level and no mention of illegal drugs – just prescription. While Jim seems to have some medical issues, we’ve yet to really determine his legal issues and therefore, what punishment might be appropriate for his “crimes.” Could we all just take a breath?

  29. craigkintexas says: Mar 20, 2014 2:41 PM

    Wow! I read this article three times to see where Dungy had any holier than thou attitude like some proclaim here…….couldn’t find an instance of it. Dungy, whether anyone wants to acknowledge it or not is a truly spiritual person and doesn’t judge others…..unlike so many that have expressed their opinion about him here.

  30. mutantman87 says: Mar 20, 2014 2:59 PM

    “Instead of keeping his moral opinion to himself, once again Friar Dungy gives his opinion to the world about a man who he says was a great support to himself and his family.Nice way to support someone who was there when the Dungy family went thru a terrible personal tragedy a few years ago.

    I can’t stand Tony Dungy going back to his holier than thou days as the Colts HC. If he was on fire, I don’t think Bill Belichick would spit on him.”

    I think this has now become the “Bash Tony Dungy Forum.” Look, he isn’t a saint or the greatest coach in NFL history. But he is a decent and well respected man, and a good football coach to boot. I think what Tony Dungy said about Jim Irsay is a very nice way to put it. It would be something else if he put it bluntly- that if Jim Irsay wasn’t a millionaire’s kid, he’d be dead in a gutter somewhere, facedown in a pool of his own vomit.

    All Dungy said to criticize Irsay is that he made a big mistake, and he did- abusing prescription painkillers and driving drunk endangers Irsay and the general public. He actually expressed support for Irsay getting help, and chances are, he’s suspected that he’s been an addict the whole time and didn’t “out” him. Dungy is probably supporting Irsay the best he can, but there is only so much you can do to protect a rich and powerful man from himself.

  31. babygaga19 says: Mar 20, 2014 3:11 PM

    Im hoping they let Jimmy twitter as he goes through withdrawals. That would be fun, yes?

  32. djachammer says: Mar 20, 2014 3:12 PM

    Yes, he is the owner. Should an employee such as Goodell be able to punish him .
    NO.
    For those that think he should be, Go Discipline your Boss for a DUI.

    Look you think The Owner will not retaliate? How you ask? By taking it out on his fans. Prices will go up across the board.

    Like it or not he is the owner. Piss him off he could close the team done and retain the rights to it.

    Yes there would be a fight.

  33. croghan1919 says: Mar 20, 2014 3:22 PM

    I’m pretty sure Goodel will not do anything to Irsay that is NOT put before the other 31 owners and agreed on.
    It will not be the employee punishing the boss, it WILL be peers sensoring a peer.

  34. roadtrip3500 says: Mar 20, 2014 3:31 PM

    The only people who can discipline Irsay are the other 31 owners. They can vote to discipline/sanction Irsay at the owner’s meeting… it’s like the partners of a law firm deciding to discipline a partner who did something similar. But Goodell on his own likely doesn’t have the authority to do it.

  35. phinagain says: Mar 20, 2014 3:33 PM

    Everyone needs to lay off this “he’s not an employee” foolishness. This is not your accounting office, and that’s not how it works.

    The owners each own a team. Collectively, they brought these teams together and formed a corporation called the NFL to manage the operations of the league they were creating. The owners created a set of by-laws for how member-companies (teams) must operate in order to be eligible to maintain their membership. Part of this contractual arrangement is that these members created a position of CEO of the NFL and vested that individual with the authority to enforce the league’s rules on its members – including the owners of the constituent member-companies.

    So does Irsay pay 1/32 of Goodell’s salary? Yes, inasmuch as the Colts as a corporation participates financially in the league. In doing so, the Colts organization – which includes Irsay – also agreed to abide by the league’s disciplinary policy.

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