When it comes to the six-game suspension and $500,000 fine imposed against Colts owner Jim Irsay, the NFL definitely held Irsay to a higher standard than the one that would apply to a player. During a Wednesday press conference, Commissioner Roger Goodell emphasized that point.
“Well, it’s very clear that we hold the standard of the shield and the league up against everybody,” Goodell said. “And so whether you’re a Commissioner or an owner, in the management level, we hold you to a higher standard than the players. This penalty is 10 times financially more than a player would get and there is no discipline from a suspension standpoint for a first-time offender in DUI in the players. Now, we would like to change that, but this is obviously six games and [Irsay] will be subject to the same issues of testing and program-related that we would expect others to do. It’s very important for us to hold everyone up to that standard and Jim [Irsay] understands that and understands his responsibility.”
That last part implies that Irsay will be subject to the same testing program that a player would face — up to 10 times per months with a threat of a banishment with the ability to re-apply after one year. The reality is that Irsay will be tested by the court as part of his probation; it’s not clear whether he’ll face up to 10 unannounced tests per month, or a banishment from the league if he tests positive.
It is clear that Irsay won’t lose the money that the team will receive via ticket sales, TV broadcast deals, and other revenue sources.
“I fined him to the maximum amount of $500,000,” Goodell said. “That’s the maximum I was allowed to do.”
While it’s the maximum fine, plenty of players and coaches have lost a lot more than $500,000 as a result of a suspension. A suspension without pay.
For Irsay, the reality is that he’s being suspended with pay. And the money his team will make over the next six weeks far outweighs the $500,000 check he’ll cut to the league.