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DeMaurice Smith: Lack of Irsay discipline creates “credibility gap”

Executive director of the NFL Players Association Smith and NFL Commissioner Goodell speak outside the NFL Players Association Headquarters in Washington Reuters

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.

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56 Responses to “DeMaurice Smith: Lack of Irsay discipline creates “credibility gap””
  1. chargerdillon says: May 29, 2014 3:43 PM

    Hey Demaurice, when Aldon Smith gets a year long suspension for three times as many criminal offenses as Jim Irsay, maybe you can start preaching about unfairness.

  2. scrp2 says: May 29, 2014 3:43 PM

    Mike Tomlin almost cost the Steelers draft picks by wandering too close to the sideline. Just sayin’

  3. horsepedlr says: May 29, 2014 3:44 PM

    it won’t be much after all irsay went to “Rehab” that fixs everything.

  4. pooflingingmonkey says: May 29, 2014 3:45 PM

    DeMo needs to focus on the players. He is head of the Players Union, not the Owners moral conscience.

  5. claymus1 says: May 29, 2014 3:48 PM

    Since when are OWNERS and players on the same level? No Owners, no NFL. Players? As good as they are, there are more replacement players available than replacement OWNERS.
    Like it or not, if you own the ball, you get to say when ,where and how the game is played. Did he mess up? Sure he did, but he is anything but a 22 year old athlete getting paid insane amounts of money to play a game…He has a lot of HIS money tied up in HIS team…What has happened to the concept of private ownership of assets?

  6. 12444uggg says: May 29, 2014 3:49 PM

    When Irsay plays a couple of downs, as a player, then the standards will be the same.

  7. azarkhan says: May 29, 2014 3:49 PM

    As if a scummy lawyer like Smith has any credibility.

  8. kingmj4891 says: May 29, 2014 3:51 PM

    Thats ok because DeMaurice Smith doesn’t have an credibility left after he screwed the players over with the last CBA.

  9. justintuckrule says: May 29, 2014 3:51 PM

    Sorry owner slurpers but DeMo is 100% correct. Goodell is a hypocrite hoping for the news cycle to change on this story.

    Irsay put people’s lives at risk and it wasn’t his first time. His conduct was FAR worse than the careers Goodell is ruining enforcing his antiquated pot policy. Irsay should be suspended for the entire season and have an entire season’s worth of draft picks stripped. Betcha next time this junkie springs for a DD.

    If words can force an owner to lose his team, this is the least that can happen to someone as careless as Irsay.

  10. eaglesw00t says: May 29, 2014 3:52 PM

    Kind of like Aldon Smith, right? Oh wait…

    And when ANY of these players puts a billion dollars into a team, then they can speak about how the owners are treated by the commissioner.

    He has invested more money into his team than any player in the world. When they start buying teams, then they can complain about credibility gaps.

    Try telling your employer that he should get the same company punishment that you get, and see how loud they laugh at you.

  11. thegreatgabbert says: May 29, 2014 3:53 PM

    We don’t know that Jim Blob hasn’t been disciplined. He may have had his privledges curtailed at an exclusive country club or something. Certainly there is “talk”. We know how hurtful that can be in social circles.

  12. aceakking says: May 29, 2014 3:54 PM

    NFL allows Jim Irsay to do drugs and tank seasons, and Dan Snyder to keep the racist slur as a team name. What kind of message are we sending to our kids?

  13. robf2010 says: May 29, 2014 3:55 PM

    Goodell must be really mad because what he does to Rice the player must now be proportioned to what he does to Irsay the owner. If he drops the hammer on Rice and he must surely want to, he’ll have to drop two hammers on Irsay.

  14. jdbaker01 says: May 29, 2014 4:00 PM

    When I come in late to work I get yelled at by the owner. When the owner comes in late to work then do I get to yell at him? Not if I want a job. That’s just how it works, don’t expect reciprocity when it comes to this kind of employee/employer relationship.

  15. grantsbuds says: May 29, 2014 4:01 PM

    In short, Irsay isn’t subject to the CBA negotiated by Smith. Poorly negotiated CBA too.

  16. freepretzels says: May 29, 2014 4:04 PM

    Get caught with a car full of pills and a history of addiction and everyone starts making excuses for you, get caught with weed like Josh Gordon and you’re an idiot that let your team down.

    I don’t get it.

  17. fanasaurus says: May 29, 2014 4:05 PM

    Lack of HGH testing after agreeing to it in last CBA proves NFLPA has no credibility. They seem adept at talking out of both sides of their mouths.

  18. bucrightoff says: May 29, 2014 4:05 PM

    Where’s the Josh Freeman investigation at Demaurice?

  19. weepingjebus says: May 29, 2014 4:06 PM

    As an owner, Irsay knows a lot of inside information. If Goodell is serious about protecting the shield, he can’t afford to turn Irsay against the league. My bet is Irsay goes through various public humiliation and apology tours while retaining his authority, and then years later is quietly moved out in favor of a picked successor. Otherwise you have the prospect of a tipsy Irsay on CNN saying how the Colts tanked the 2-14 season on purpose to land Luck.

  20. dspyank2k11 says: May 29, 2014 4:06 PM

    Um… De Smith, welcome to the party a few days late. You can go back to your moms basement now :)

  21. 23rdusernameused says: May 29, 2014 4:07 PM

    Like most smart people have said above…
    owner VS player:
    BIG DIFF!!!!
    Get a clue
    slap on the wrist, move on!

  22. blowfishes says: May 29, 2014 4:09 PM

    Depends what kind of deal is in place for owners when they sign up to the NFL. Players are bound by the CBA, and most (if not all) players are not penalized by the League during the legal process of their possible first offense.

    Whilst I agree that some form of penalty is due, this will be setting precedent for future instances, and therefore must be carefully thought out and planned under labour laws. An owner cannot be accused of taking performance enhancing substances by the League, but they can be accused of damaging the image of the League.

    Once the legal process is carried out, then the League can respond. I do however agree that potentially putting other lives at risk by driving impaired should be considered a worse offense than being vocal (albeit recorded without your knowledge) with a comment related to race. Whilst I doubt the League will force Isray to sell the Colts, they should be docked perhaps a 2nd round draft choice, and perhaps not be allowed to apply to host Superbowls for 5 years.

  23. mrlaloosh says: May 29, 2014 4:12 PM

    Money rules the rules. Irsay will get a slap on the wrist. Goodell works FOR Irsay and the other owners. Goodell made $40,000,000 last year? From the owners. Like it or not the rules don’t apply to the super rich. Never had, never will.
    Get ready for the smoke and mirrors from Goodell.

  24. bobzilla1001 says: May 29, 2014 4:14 PM

    I’m the last person to ever defend Goodell and his “brilliant ideas”” to change the NFL, but let’s be honest: His job can’t be a picnic, especially having to deal with highly-paid, overpaid, over-pampered, over-coddled, youthful athletes who have way too much money and way too much free time.
    I’ve always suspected that the reason NBA and NHL players don’t seem to attract the trouble NFL players do is because basketball and hockey players play basically year-round sports. They are simply kept too busy to get into any real trouble.
    Throw into the equation the likes of Irsay, and Goodell certainly has his hands full.

  25. patriotinvasion says: May 29, 2014 4:17 PM

    I wonder if Irsay was playing the CD of all the crowd noise in his car when he got pulled over. Colts have been cheating with that stuff for years.

  26. rcali says: May 29, 2014 4:19 PM

    Well, I don’t think the Players are fans of Goodell anyway and if you watched the Draft and read comments on the blogs, fans don’t like him either. What Goodell does is sell every possible piece of the NFL to anyone who is willing to overpay and the owners love him for it.

  27. duffelbagsports says: May 29, 2014 4:21 PM

    The NBA knows how to handle it’s business. You have a loser owner kick him out. But then that’s a player’s league.

  28. pigskinjunkie66 says: May 29, 2014 4:21 PM

    What should trouble your players the most D Smith the lousy deal you negotiated on their behalf.

  29. johnodocks says: May 29, 2014 4:26 PM

    NFL team owners are not in the same position as owners of independent businesses. NFL team owners have bought into and are making money as part of a larger corporation than just their own team. They SHOULD be subject to following the rules and being subjected to penalties just like anyone else the overall corporation sees fit to punish. Otherwise, the league and its commissioner ARE hypocritical.

    It’s true that the players don’t put money into the business like the owners do. They just put their careers, talents, training, and health into it.

  30. gohomeweeden says: May 29, 2014 4:29 PM

    That doesn’t make sense because Ray Rice hasn’t been suspended yet either.

  31. Getoffmylawn! says: May 29, 2014 4:45 PM

    Each owner paid Godell $1.25 Million last year. They also paid each and every player. I don’t see how they can be treated the same as players, and they aren’t.

  32. johnnyjagfan says: May 29, 2014 4:46 PM

    Agreed. Josh Gordon’s case is perfect example.

  33. mrsryansfamoustoejam says: May 29, 2014 4:51 PM

    The great thing is that the owners of a business don’t have to make all of their decisions based on pleasing their employees. The NFLPA must realize that the NFL is a business, not a democracy.

  34. 2cmorgan says: May 29, 2014 5:15 PM

    Let’s see in the real world there always been different rules for employees and employers! Dhouldn’t be any different here.

  35. robf2010 says: May 29, 2014 5:20 PM

    “The NFLPA must realize that the NFL is a business, not a democracy.”

    The Colts are a business. The NFL is a monopoly with an anti-trust exemption … for now. A slap on the wrist for Irsay would bring the kind of attention the NFL just loves.

  36. datageek94 says: May 29, 2014 5:21 PM

    What’s good for the goose has never been good for the gander. Have the NFL owners signed contracts with a personal conduct policy like the players have? Not that I’ve heard. Players and union personnel crying out for Irsay to be severely disciplined are simply displaying their anger with Goodell for trying to enforce their contracts.

    Do children emulate and want to be just like the NFL owners? No. And when was the last time we’ve seen thousands of spectators wearing the jerseys of their favorite owners?

    I think it’s flat out ridiculous that the players are calling for Irsay to be disciplined like a player. He’s not a player.

    That said, I have much more respect for the owners that stay out of the headlines and off of Twitter. And I sincerely hope that the Donald, who is often full of hot air, is just looking to get publicity for himself and has no intention of trying to buy the Bills. And if he does try to buy the team, I hope he can’t close the deal.

    Irsay, like a lot of people, has an addiction problem. Let’s hope he takes it seriously, is committed to getting control, and gets the help he needs.

  37. nflgreedleague says: May 29, 2014 5:24 PM

    $ 100,000 means nothing to a Billionaire
    Take a couple 1st round picks and you’ll see Isray really hurting!

  38. slobberknocker says: May 29, 2014 5:34 PM

    First we screamed because they pushed back the date of the draft, now we are screaming because of the delay in suspensions and fines…for the love of pete I wish football season was here, we are completely bored out of our collective minds.

  39. scw1993 says: May 29, 2014 5:51 PM

    Waiting to punish a billionaire owner? I’m still waiting for the punishment to megahead for meeting with his OC in the offseason….and for that 43 – 8 crime…you won’t see certain people punished for even the severest of infractions, that’s just how it is. If you’re the golden boy, or an owner, there won’t be any punishment.

  40. bridgeh2o says: May 29, 2014 5:53 PM

    Goodell is overall pretty fair…..he did NOT do anything to Aldon Smith or Ray Rice yet.

    Irsay deserves the same timetable as those two.

    So, slow down. Irsay issues run the gamut, and Goodell needs to tread lightly until there is guilt or innocence.

    Goodell does NOT work for the players. So, DeSmith, if YOUR players don’t like the NFL system…..GO PLAY IN CANADA!!!!!!

  41. inallsincerity says: May 29, 2014 5:56 PM

    By the way, I know some of you will say that the NFL is a private corporation and its bylaws are different from those of society. That is a fact, however, there are other billionaires that would like to own the cash cow that an NFL team is. Many of them, don’t drive under the influence and are don’t have substance abuse issues or addictions (other than money) of any kind. The owners are nothing without the players. If the players were wise, they’d show their collective strength and strike. Let’s see how lucrative the NFL can be with replacement players…HA! Just the thought of it is hilarious.

  42. drgreenstreak says: May 29, 2014 5:58 PM

    … and we still want to know why Goodell still hasn’t done anything about Incognito, Pouncey & Co.

  43. jayblack073 says: May 29, 2014 6:41 PM

    Let’s face it, Goodell is just inconsistent with punishments period. It’s not just players vs owners, some players get unfairly punished compared to others. There should be a specific set of guidelines regarding types of law infractions and suspensions/fines to go along with that.

  44. Ferdinand says: May 29, 2014 6:48 PM

    Can you really call it a ‘credibility gap’ when no one actually expected any meaningful punishments/sanctions for Irsay?

  45. jchuber says: May 29, 2014 7:09 PM

    Look at how fair the US injustice system is. Irsay initally changed with 4 felonies, but only faces charges for 2 misdermeanors. Goddell will use this as an excuse to slap Isray on the wrist. “You naughty, naughty billionaire.” Goddell has zero credibility with players on fans.

  46. inallsincerity says: May 29, 2014 7:46 PM

    Reading through the comments, it’s obvious some of you feel punishment for owners should be more lenient than that of players because they are billionaires/owners. Essentially saying, if you are rich, you deserve preferential treatment over those who are not. However, the moment one of you runs afoul of the law, that tune will change, unless of course you are rich. Whatever the case may be, there are too many inconsistencies in folk’s politics. For example, they want the “Redskins” to change their name but say nothing about the most prestigious golf tournament in the USA called, “The Masters”. Another, people were pissed that O.J. got off but there was no public outcry when Baretta beat his case. Finally, there are those who always are accusing others of playing the race card but when there are GLARING inconsistencies like the aforementioned, what is one to conclude? Some even have the nerve to complain about the inconsistency of calls from NBA and NFL refs but there’s absolutely no consistency in your own twisted politics…HA! The irony of it all…C’mon man!!!

  47. tee1227 says: May 29, 2014 8:42 PM

    If you want to know just how credible his opinion is all you had to do was watch the NFL Network when the whole Jim Irsay situation went down. There was zero coverage on the NFL Network for the Irsay situation, but non stop coverage when Aldon Smith kept getting in trouble. So yeah, I’m sorry but Smith makes a good point regarding Goodell’s credibility.

  48. corky2141 says: May 29, 2014 9:58 PM

    This is why the world wide leader sucks. SalPal could have easily mentioned rice or A Smith not being suspended, and how DeSmith sees that as being different treatment than Irsay, but instead he sat on his butt and threw softballs

  49. kingpel says: May 29, 2014 10:15 PM

    Aldon Smith needs to be suspended before anyone.

  50. eagleswin says: May 29, 2014 10:30 PM

    Well Maurice, to maintain credibility the owners would have to be disciplined according to the rules set forth in the CBA for the owners. Which section of the CBA talks about owners and drug suspensions?

    You mean there isn’t one? I guess the only credibility gap is yours.

    Goodell is disciplining the players according to the CBA you negotiated.

  51. wyrdawg says: May 30, 2014 12:06 AM

    “Lack of Irsay”.. should’ve stopped it there.

    How much can the NFL do? Dude had $30k of cold hard cash AND bags full of pills in his car…

    .. really Indy? That’s it?? Misdemeanors??

    If that was ANYONE else, they would’ve been all over next Sunday’s COPS episode.. in prime time.

    I’m hoping the NFL’s perceived “dragging feet” is in reality a backroom debate on how to make this clown sell his team.

    How’s those club seats feeling Indy fans.. knowing they’re buying Irsay’s dope fiend’s houses?

    Give me a break…. Take away the toy from the little boy already.

  52. lions4lo says: May 30, 2014 2:32 AM

    For those of you spouting the line about an employee’s boss being above the worker’s code of conduct, I wonder if you have kids. Because if you follow that logic then I imagine that it is ok for you, the parent, to get high, drink, and fornicate while at the same time telling your kids that certain behavior is wrong. The point of owners being held to a higher standard is about “respect”, not who has control. Quite frankly, if you’re working for someone that you can’t respect and are just doing it just for the money…..OBVIOUSLY you’re being used and I think it is safe to say that they don’t appreciate or respect YOU. NFL players risk their health on every down…the owner’s don’t.

  53. olcap says: May 30, 2014 6:12 AM

    The large elephant in the room which also goes by the name “Double Standard” seems to be hard for some of the simple minds in high places to see.

  54. walkinginthewasteland says: May 30, 2014 9:16 AM

    Actually, the lack of discipline for Ray Rice is creating a credibility gap.

  55. crowdedtrophycase says: May 30, 2014 12:34 PM

    Why doesn’t anyone ever mention the other owners currently in legal limbo?

    Jimmy Haslam in Cleveland and Ziggy Wilf in Minnesota are both subject to league discipline as well – if and when their cases are resolved.

  56. mildfan says: May 30, 2014 2:02 PM

    OWNER, look up what that means in the dictionary. Goodell works for the owners just like the players work for the owner. Just like working in Coorperate the CEO do as they please. How can Goodell punish his boss?

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