The head of the NFL Players Association believes NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is showing less enthusiasm about disciplining an owner than he has previously shown about disciplining players.
NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said in an interview with Sal Paolantonio on ESPN that players want to know why Goodell still hasn’t done anything about Jim Irsay, who was arrested in March and faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in his body.
“The commissioner understands that there is a significant credibility gap that exists in the National Football League now,” Smith said. “I think what troubles our players is the speed and the deliberateness of punishment that they have seen in the past when it comes to a player, there isn’t the same speed or deliberate action when it comes to an owner, and that’s a problem.”
It’s fair to point out Goodell’s inconsistencies in handing out discipline, but it’s worth noting that Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested a month before Irsay, and Rice hasn’t been disciplined yet, either. So Goodell isn’t always quick about handing down discipline for players.
But when Goodell does hand down Irsay’s discipline, he needs to make it severe enough to show that he won’t go easy on the owners after earning a reputation for dealing harshly with players. If Goodell just gives Irsay the kind of fine that amounts to a rounding error for a billionaire like Irsay, Goodell will have some angry players on his hands.