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Jim Irsay speaks, but doesn’t apologize for arrest

Jim-Irsay-Getty Getty Images

Colts owner Jim Irsay didn’t shed much light on the specifics of his current status with the league in his first interview since his arrest this spring, but he say he’s undergoing random drug tests, and the results of those tests are being shared with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Irsay talked to Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, and though he wouldn’t say specifically why he failed a field sobriety tests or whether he thought he should be held to a higher standard than players, he did describe his ongoing battle with addiction which stems from the pain of back and hip problems.

It’s all been a blessing, just being able to focus on my health and redouble the efforts on recovery,” Irsay said. “It’s been a long path. I still have chronic pain. But it was the good thing. . . . In some ways, [going through rehab] is my greatest moment. It takes courage to try and overcome the difficulties you have. For some reason, it’s seen as unheroic. When someone beats cancer, it’s like, `Wow, that’s so heroic,’ but when someone has this illness, it’s treated like you’re a leper because that person is morally corrupt, and that’s not the case.

“. . . It’s an ongoing thing in one’s life when recovering from any disease. The disease never sleeps so you have to be proactive when dealing with it. But the journey is great because it forced you to grow spiritually. There’s a lot of gratitude and spiritual growth. And it’s rewarding because it makes you more virtuous when you have success.”

Irsay said he’s been alcohol-free for more than a decade, and was still taking pain medication, though it was closely monitored by his doctors and would eventually be decreased. He described his pain medication as “the least invasive from an addiction standpoint and the most helpful from an orthopedic standpoint.”

And though he didn’t discuss much regarding the pending charges for operating a vehicle under the influence, he disputed some of the facts in the case. He said it wasn’t unusual for him to be traveling with $29,000 in cash, as he was the night he was stopped for erratic driving.

He also hedged when asked if he felt the need to apologize to anyone.

“I don’t think that’s something I’ll address right now,” Irsay said. “There are certain things I want to say that I can’t say. We need to let the process go forward and I’ll address that later. I’m a human being; if there’s something I have to apologize for, I would, but at this point, it wouldn’t be appropriate. It sets me up, like if you don’t say you’re sorry, then why aren’t you saying your sorry, and if you say you’re sorry, then you must have done something wrong.”

Admitting some culpability might have been a nice first step, especially at a time when the league is deciding how best to punish one of their own business partners, while the labor force is watching them closely.

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76 Responses to “Jim Irsay speaks, but doesn’t apologize for arrest”
  1. thepftpoet says: Jun 10, 2014 1:59 PM

    This would never happen to Zygi Wilf.

    The best owner in sports.

  2. jimfix says: Jun 10, 2014 2:00 PM

    Yeah, people should definitely implicate themselves publicly while they are under an ongoing legal investigation. That’s usually a good idea.

  3. realnflmaster says: Jun 10, 2014 2:01 PM

    Did anyone check his glove box on the way to the interview?

  4. mikea311 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:03 PM

    who should he apologize too? he only hurt himself.

  5. terrier92 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:03 PM

    Denial wow Good luck Jim

  6. eaglesnoles05 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:03 PM

    Does he owe you an apology?

  7. missingjimmyjohnsonsince1994 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:04 PM

    So it already seems as if Goodell will somehow loop in his probation drug tests as if they are part of the NFL drug policy and he will get off easy.

  8. thepftpoet says: Jun 10, 2014 2:05 PM

    The whole Colts organization should be fined.

    Not for the Jim Irsay situation.

    But for tanking the 2011 season to get Andrew Luck.

    Starting Curtis Painter for 14 straight games, and then winning the last 2 after they already clinched the #1 overall pick?

    Cheaters.

  9. 4thquartermagic says: Jun 10, 2014 2:06 PM

    “I am truly sorry…. (I got caught).”

    The billionaire creedo.

  10. missingjimmyjohnsonsince1994 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:06 PM

    No credit cards? I highly doubt the respectable owners in the NFL travel with 29K in cash. I can understand a thousand or so in 100 dollar bills but 29K and in laundry bag?

  11. zackd2 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:11 PM

    Maybe Goodell should suspend him for a season without pay.

  12. uglydingo says: Jun 10, 2014 2:12 PM

    Good to hear that Jim has made good progress and considers the whole matter as a blessing in his high moral life.
    Please tell us more about the dead girlfriend in the home owned by the Colts and what Jim knows about her death that seemed to trigger his downward spiral. I’m sure the Police will be interested in his story.

  13. whysomanylosers says: Jun 10, 2014 2:12 PM

    I was waiting for the tweet…

  14. pftthoughtpolicemostwanted says: Jun 10, 2014 2:13 PM

    I’m finding myself on the exact opposite side of every single social issue brought up here, at a football website of all places, simply because you think you know better than us.

    Frankly I’m glad he didn’t apologize because you think he should.

    I also like the name Redskins and think the only reason why Michael Sam was drafted was to save the league from explaining why a short, slow football player with a lousy attitude wasn’t selected.

  15. selldannysell says: Jun 10, 2014 2:16 PM

    They should return the Colts name to Baltimore and get a new franchise name and logo.

  16. redeemerac says: Jun 10, 2014 2:19 PM

    Sorry, maybe I’m being too hard on him, but having lost a friend because of a Drunk Driver, it really bothers me when I hear him talk about how heroic he was to get treatment.
    That may be so, but how about taking some responsibility for getting behind the wheel and driving while under the influence. You could have easily killed a person or and entire family.

  17. weepingjebus says: Jun 10, 2014 2:19 PM

    I carry around $29k just in case Dez Bryant wants to grab a sandwich.

  18. grantsbuds says: Jun 10, 2014 2:21 PM

    And Andrew Luck thinks to himself, “…..of all the QBs…I had to get hooked up with Irsay/Grigson.”

    Good luck Andrew.

  19. doctormantistoboggan says: Jun 10, 2014 2:21 PM

    He would be the perfect face for Early Times marketing campaign.

  20. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 10, 2014 2:22 PM

    Good answers, now is not an appropriate time to be apologizing for things especially considering that he could get an unfavorable and unfair ruling from the NFL. It’s not worth exposing yourself to legal problems or weakening your position when a multi-billion dollar entity is posturing in a threatening way that isn’t fair to you. So if anybody feels they are owed an apology, then take it up with the NFL for putting Irsay in an impossible position at this time. He has to protect himself in addition to wanting to make amends, and the NFL has chosen to move very slowly and that’s not fair to Irsay or the people that deserve an apology.

  21. sirsupersouthern says: Jun 10, 2014 2:22 PM

    Pain medication is nice in two ways: it numbs your bodily pain, and cheers you up when you take enough to get high on it.

    That’s why it’s tempting to take pain medication once you get prescribed it, and ask for more after you finish the first approved amount. So people keep taking it until they realize they’re physically addicted to it, and unfortunately have to keep taking it by whatever means they can get more. Like driving around with $30,000 cash looking for anything from Oxycontin to handfuls of 10/375 Norcos.

    I personally don’t understand why people expect Jim to apologize for his pain medication problem. He was legitimately prescribed them to help him deal with physical pain by an honest doctor and took them until he became addicted. Pain medication does nothing to disgrace a league that everyone in it has used once or often to deal with troubling pain.

    If Mr Irsay has to apologize for using pain medication to deal with pain, every single player in the NFL will need to form a long, long line behind him to apologize too. I won’t bother listening to a single one, just like I don’t bother reading a single terrible Irsay tweet. I hope he gets off the pills the right way and goes on drug free, and I hope the same for every NFL player. Good luck guys…

  22. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 10, 2014 2:23 PM

    Jim Irsay speaks, but is unintelligible.

  23. r8rsfan says: Jun 10, 2014 2:25 PM

    Comparing pain killer addiction to cancer? Seriously? What a slap in the face to millions of people with FAR bigger problems than Jimmy Deep Pockets ever conceived of. Pure, unbridled arrogance.

  24. gojags says: Jun 10, 2014 2:25 PM

    one other reason to hate the colts. I only hope they end up getting zero superbowls on “suck for luck” campaign/cheating. What they did on that year was as bad as the spygate. They should have “*” on the roster for Luck and “*” should indicate they cheated to get him.

    BTW: I do like Luck and he is a damn good player and his future is great.

  25. bearssuck says: Jun 10, 2014 2:25 PM

    This dude is a silver spooning junky

  26. kd75 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:25 PM

    Irsay hasn’t gotten to Step 5 yet…

    “if there’s something I have to apologize for, I would, but at this point, it wouldn’t be appropriate.”

    it wasn’t unusual for him to be traveling with $29,000 in cash

  27. ytrappin504 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:26 PM

    Addiction isn’t a disease lol. This dude is a drug addicted nub.

  28. jdotkeys says: Jun 10, 2014 2:33 PM

    I know that most won’t like this because I imagine a lot if Indy fans are reading this, but we all really need to acknowledge how truly sordid Irsay ownership has been over the years. I am from Baltimore and it is common knowledge that Bob Irsay didn’t even remember which city he agreed to move the team to when it happened…this family needs to get the hell out of the NFL and into long-term rehab. Jesus man, how do we let rich people get away with the nonsense.

  29. chawkup says: Jun 10, 2014 2:34 PM

    I’ll bet the Vikings sent him a Whizzinator.

  30. heisthejuan says: Jun 10, 2014 2:35 PM

    I got $100 that says he falls off the wagon before the Colts make the SB again.

  31. CKL says: Jun 10, 2014 2:40 PM

    It’s one thinking to not feel as if he needs to apologize. It’s quite another for him to want to be treated as heroic for breaking the law, the end result of which which forced him into rehab. At least he was “alcohol free” enough to decline a blood test.

  32. scrp2 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:44 PM

    Everyone at the interview session applauded his recovery efforts until at the end when he blurted, “I’m moving the team back to Baltimore”.

  33. rfahey22 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:44 PM

    So, what about that dead woman in his house? Why has that aspect of the whole situation disappeared?

  34. horsepedlr says: Jun 10, 2014 2:48 PM

    this is the exact same thing he critized limbaugh for and he and goodell stopped his owning just a piece of an nfl team. 29k in cash. drug dealers don’t take credit cards for that big a buy. oxy= hillbilly heroin. guy is a big time doper.

  35. jimmyt says: Jun 10, 2014 2:49 PM

    All the “our owner would never do anything wrong” are funny. I can’t think af many that stay out of the news, don’t say and do stupid things and stay out of trouble. I like an owner that lets his people run his team and you never hear from.

  36. thefirstsmilergrogan says: Jun 10, 2014 2:49 PM

    he declined a blood test yet says he’s booze free. no one tweets the stuff irsay has when they are sober. i thought the father was the bottom of the social barrel; but it looks like the enabled and in denial son has equalled him and has yet to bottom out…..

  37. flaccoishermanmunster says: Jun 10, 2014 2:53 PM

    Would the owner of another mutli-million $ company apoligize to their customers or the public? Apologize to the organization sure, but screw the public.

  38. pete2112 says: Jun 10, 2014 2:54 PM

    Maybe it’s not the “right” time to apologize but maybe he should be somewhat remorseful for what could have been much worse situation if he had killed another motorist that night. This guy has always struck a nerve with me with his arrogant ways and I guess that won’t change, even now.

    I sort of get the feeling this guy never really grew up and matured as I’m sure he lived off his father’s fortune and felt he could do whatever he pleased.

  39. wisconsinhillfolk says: Jun 10, 2014 3:06 PM

    This is outlandish. No one asks to have Cancer. Perhaps there are those who are born with a predisposition to addiction and they certainly didn’t ask to be born that way. However, not admitting to fault, failure or, at the very least, complicity for behaviors that exacerbate the repercussions of indulging addiction is nothing short of cowardly. Accepting personal responsibility is one of the first steps towards treating addiction. Irsay has already missed a step.

  40. ducksk says: Jun 10, 2014 3:07 PM

    He don’t owe us fans anything. 0! Good luck with demon, Some Drs. Are nothing but pushers in white coats.

  41. worshipck7 says: Jun 10, 2014 3:12 PM

    Useless drug addict and his team is garbage. Luck is over rated.

  42. aceakking says: Jun 10, 2014 3:15 PM

    Jim Irsay is a rich loser who likes to tank seasons. Loser.

  43. jeffperk says: Jun 10, 2014 3:16 PM

    I’m guessing this was what was left of the $50K Ed Reed had stolen out of his car last year?

  44. stealthscorpio says: Jun 10, 2014 3:25 PM

    Heroic???

  45. 12444uggg says: Jun 10, 2014 3:27 PM

    “Starting Curtis Painter for 14 straight games, and then winning the last 2 after they already clinched the #1 overall pick?”

    This is incorrect. Collins got two starts before getting knocked out. Orlovsky started 3. IF you knew that, you’d also know that the Colts were in contention in many of it’s early season games.

    The notion that they tanked the 11′ season to get rid of Manning is beyond stupid.

  46. kingpel says: Jun 10, 2014 3:30 PM

    Does this ass expect people to launch a Jim Strong campaign to support him in his heroic battle against addiction? For once in your life show some personal accountability and shut your damn mouth! As soon as this ass clown speaks I lose all sympathy for him and hope the NFL does bury him with fines and a suspension. Show a little humility for crying out loud.

  47. realitycheckbaby says: Jun 10, 2014 3:33 PM

    Someone should have given him some coffee before that picture was taken.

  48. gammynomnom says: Jun 10, 2014 3:53 PM

    I don’t get ther ” he owes us an apology” angle. Dude aint done nothing to me.

  49. deltaoracle says: Jun 10, 2014 4:05 PM

    Basically said he’s one heck of a hero.
    Should release the date for the parade in his own honor soon.

  50. keltictim says: Jun 10, 2014 4:12 PM

    Personally I respect him more now.

  51. wisconsinhillfolk says: Jun 10, 2014 4:18 PM

    Step skipper!!

  52. oliverduckhunt says: Jun 10, 2014 4:29 PM

    Why would he apologize? …he’s rich

  53. purpleguy says: Jun 10, 2014 4:59 PM

    Somehow being busted with a big wad of cash and enough pain killers to stone 200 people seems less than heroic. Overcoming and treating addiction is one thing, violating multiple laws is entirely another.

  54. mortwannabe says: Jun 10, 2014 5:08 PM

    Never been the same since he was left off the Viking Love Boat guest list.

  55. farmmbig says: Jun 10, 2014 5:10 PM

    More proof as to how ridiculous things are in life…

    We can have a sworn Police Officer determine someone is violating a law that places people in serious danger and they cannot bring themself to apologize….

    But when a Gold Digging bimbo secretly audio records someone with Dementia making racist remarks, then getting an unknown party to release them to the media— A league demands that owner sell the franchise.

    Done as a society.

  56. Punk says: Jun 10, 2014 5:26 PM

    Jim Irsay does a couple of things in this interview that bother me. First he equates his addiction as the same as Chuck Pagano’s leukemia. I know it isn’t politically correct to think this, but I just do not think it is the same thing.

    He says that going to rehab is heroic. That when Chuck fought back he was heroic but people look down at Irsay because of his affliction. That is correct, Jim. I do look down on you. Not because you are addicted, but because you broke the law several times. If you turned to your loved ones and said, “I have a problem I need to go to rehab.” THAT would be heroic. But that isn’t what happened. You went to jail. You went to rehab to restore your reputation. That is not heroic, it is self-serving.

    You say you aren’t sure if you have something to apologize for. Let me say this clearly. You need to apologize. Some people may say because of an ongoing criminal investigation it would be inappropriate… blah blah blah. Dude, you were charged with two misdemeanors. Apologize and pay your damn fine.

    The icing on the cake was the admittance that he routinely walks around with enormous amounts of cash in his pocket. Who the heck are you fooling with that garbage? Seriously, everyone reading this quick, check your pockets for cash. If we collectively have $50 I would be shocked!

    Cash? Nobody uses cash regularly. Lots of people have money. I have money. Lots of people use banks and carry a check card. And by lots of people I mean EVERYONE. Unless they are up to something shady.

    If you said to me that you were a big tipper so you like to have a good amount of cash on hand so you could pass out $100 bills to the people who wait on you because you are an awesome guy like that. I would say great. You have maybe $5-6k.

    $29,000 in a laundry bag in the trunk of your car. You routinely have $29,000 in a laundry bag in the trunk of your car? I am throwing the BS flag on that.

    Jim Irsay was caught with $29,000 and illegal drugs in his car and he has the audacity to tell us that he has a disease the same way Chuck Pagano has a disease. He should be loved and supported because he is a hero because after he was arrested he went to rehab. And by God he hasn’t done a thing to anyone so he doesn’t have to apologize because apologizing would imply guilt.

    Dude, you make it REAL HARD to be a Colts fan these days.

  57. Punk says: Jun 10, 2014 5:28 PM

    Jim. If you turned to your loved ones and said, “I have a problem I need to go to rehab.” THAT would be heroic. But that isn’t what happened. You went to jail. You went to rehab to restore your reputation. That is not heroic, it is self-serving.

  58. Punk says: Jun 10, 2014 5:30 PM

    Jim Irsay routinely drives around with $29,000 in the trunk of his car.

    Who the heck are you fooling with that garbage? Seriously, everyone reading this quick, check your pockets for cash.

    Cash? Nobody uses cash regularly. Lots of people have money. I have money. Lots of people use banks and carry a check card. And by lots of people I mean EVERYONE. Unless they are up to something shady.

    If you said to me that you were a big tipper so you like to have a good amount of cash on hand so you could pass out $100 bills to the people who wait on you because you are an awesome guy like that. I would say great. You have maybe $5-6k.

    $29,000 in a laundry bag in the trunk of your car. You routinely have $29,000 in a laundry bag in the trunk of your car? I am throwing the BS flag on that.

  59. Punk says: Jun 10, 2014 5:31 PM

    Jim Irsay was caught with $29,000 and illegal drugs in his car and he has the audacity to tell us that he has a disease the same way Chuck Pagano has a disease. He should be loved and supported because he is a hero because after he was arrested he went to rehab. And by God he hasn’t done a thing to anyone so he doesn’t have to apologize because apologizing would imply guilt.

    Dude, you make it REAL HARD to be a Colts fan these days.

  60. jgedgar70 says: Jun 10, 2014 5:32 PM

    We need NFLN to interview Bill Tobin so he can ask, “who the hell is Jim Irsay, anyway?”

  61. Punk says: Jun 10, 2014 5:39 PM

    The Colts asked me to “Make it Personal” and to “Bleed Blue” now when Irsay gets arrested its a private manner and he doesn’t owe me an apology.

    Dude, you owe me an apology. Why? Because I defended your stupid tweets for years, that’s why.

  62. clssylssy says: Jun 10, 2014 5:57 PM

    What an arrogant jerk! I don’t hold out any expectations of his being held accountable as he and the Commissioner seem to be birds of a feather. It’s a really sad day for football when the NBA outclasses the NFL without any effort in holding it’s owners accountable for inappropriate personal conduct! I feel bad for the Colt’s players and fans but perhaps Irsay’s fate should be decided by the Player’s Union who would still be more lenient than Goodell was with the Saints!

  63. cassrangers says: Jun 10, 2014 6:36 PM

    Why are all you guys in the media so worried about these guys apologizing? Who cares, and who does he NEED to apologize too?!? You aren’t his family, and I highly doubt any of you are his friends, so, he doesn’t need to say he’s sorry to you. Get over it.

  64. soupkan says: Jun 10, 2014 6:44 PM

    Jim Irsay does a lot of good for people in need. Non football he has a very big heart,and does not get the credit he deserves.

  65. gofor2with3pointlead says: Jun 10, 2014 6:49 PM

    Charlie Delta Bravo

  66. kabasaman says: Jun 10, 2014 6:55 PM

    I’d bet there aren’t a lot of apologies from people with billions of dollars..

  67. seacab1972 says: Jun 10, 2014 7:01 PM

    The apology is for all of the people that were on the road that night while he decided to put their lives and his in jeopardy. He didn’t use good judgement at that time and isn’t using it now by hiding behind legalese.

  68. zmanhere says: Jun 10, 2014 7:04 PM

    Apologies can and will be used against you in the court of law numnuts.

  69. ck7isgod says: Jun 10, 2014 7:23 PM

    Luck and the Colts are over rated ……

  70. damcmp says: Jun 10, 2014 8:02 PM

    Punk it is not of your business what a rich man carries around in his car. Are you jealous and want to bring down a guy that has made more money this month than you probably will you whole working life. Oh that’s right you are perfect and never made a mistake or a fortune

  71. hockeyflow33 says: Jun 10, 2014 8:21 PM

    Who is he apologizing to and what difference does that make?

  72. guachosporlife says: Jun 10, 2014 8:28 PM

    Why does he need to carry vast amounts of cash? Someone needs to tell him that when he dies, his money will be useless.

  73. Timothy Benton says: Jun 10, 2014 10:24 PM

    I owned businesses for years, and if someone told me that I could not go in because I had a DWI, I would have fired them. If I wanted to spark on up (which I would not) then that is my right, I am not being paid, I OWN THE TEAM.
    Time to tell these idiots that owners are owners, they are the ones that sign the paychecks, not the league.

  74. Timothy Benton says: Jun 10, 2014 10:26 PM

    clssylssy,
    You are a fool, both are wrong, and if I was Sterling I would have sued too. How dare the employees try to call him out, he owns the team. His opinion, no matter how stupid, is his. If you do not like it as a player, then quit, there are millions who would love to pick up one of their paychecks.

  75. whyrunbackwardsyoullvomit says: Jun 11, 2014 10:06 AM

    Apologies are about action not words…especially not words spoken publicly as a PR move. If he apologized now and then repeated the same behavior would you demand another apology? Also, people carry cash…it’s not always the smart thing to do and it’s not always for legit purposes but it doesn’t automatically equal a crime and if it’s part of his charges then a lawyer intern (if there is such a thing) could easily beat that charge. I think he should be punished for the driving under the influence and I hope he beats his personal demons….time will tell.

  76. mogogo1 says: Jun 11, 2014 1:15 PM

    The sad part is he doesn’t sound like he’s really in recovery. His comments have all the signs of a guy still addicted, still coming up with cover stories for everything. He hasn’t drank in years? He was almost off the painkillers at the time of the arrest? Does anybody believe any of that?

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