Goodell responds to NFLPA on Irsay


On Thursday, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith took shots at the NFL for its failure to promptly discipline Colts owner Jim Irsay.  On Friday, Commissioner Roger Goodell fired back.

“The personal conduct policy applies to commissioners, owners, players, coaches,” Goodell told reporters Friday, via the Associated Press. “It applies to all of us. We all have a responsibility to do things the right way. There are several players that we haven’t taken any action on, either.

“We like to get the facts, we like to be thorough and we like to understand them. Charges were just filed last week. I don’t believe there’s a credibility gap.”

The remarks came in response to Smith’s attack on the league’s failure to take swifter action against Irsay.

“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.”

While the players have good reason to argue that owners should be held to a higher standard, Smith’s belief that the league is moving more slowly as to Irsay than it would as to a player is misplaced.  For players who are first-time offenders, discipline is almost never imposed until the legal process has concluded.

Irsay is a first-time offender.  If he’s treated like a player, he won’t be disciplined until after the legal case is resolved — and he won’t be suspended for a first offense.  In this specific case, the tea leaves currently suggest that Irsay will be suspended and that it will happen before his prosecution reaches its conclusion.

The challenge for Goodell will be to find the right punishment, one that sends a clear message that owners are held to a higher standard without unfairly impacting Irsay or creating a competitive disadvantage for the team.

64 responses to “Goodell responds to NFLPA on Irsay

  1. Irsay – billionaire
    Everyone else – millionaires
    He can “buy” more time ….

  2. Smith wants to be the judge, jury, & executioner. maybe he & goodell should switch jobs for a season…both would be humbled.

  3. If a player was arrested for DUI, had a lot of prescription pills that weren’t his and also had $29k in cash…that player would have been suspended already.

  4. DeMaurice Smith should worry more about the possible $3billion in anti-trust triple damages the players will not get because HE decided to go along with the NFL when they punished the Redskins and Cowboys in CAPGATE for Colluding against the NFLPA.
    It still baffles me that the players re-elected him to lead them after he cost them BILLIONS OF DOLLARS. I guess all those concussions have clouded their judgement.

  5. So a guy breaks the law, looks at a a felony and keeps his team….another guy exercises his right to be an idiot, breaks no law and loses his…hmmm

  6. an owner is not going to put on pads and a helmet on sundays, so why are people worried about him being punished? i personally dont care if he gets punished or not.

  7. Goodell is a bitch and destroying the integrity of this league little by little year by year.

  8. When was it that Ray Rice beat his fiance unconscious in an elevator? 3 or 4 months ago, and still no league punishment? Relax D.Smith.

  9. He’s waiting for Irsay to tell him what he’ll accept as punishment.

  10. Goodell defends the Browns crooked owner, & won’t punish Irsay. Why, because he gets a portion of his $30M bonuses from them.

  11. Umm…..I think Goodell is telling Demaurice: TAKE THAT!!!!!

    I personally think Goodell is doing a very good job in keeping the NFL the primary sport it is today BY FAR over his competition by NOT ALLOWING PLAYERS to rule the league.

    If he did, it would be a joke like it was in baseball (the guaranteed contracts and steroids), and NBA-the guaranteed contracts and star treatment by officials makes the NBA a JOKE!!!!!

    Keep up the good work Roger. If Demaurice wasn’t complaining, you wouldn’t be doing your job!!!!

  12. It is all a farce anyhow. These are the dealings of rich people (whether they are players or owners is beside the point). They are all rich and they will all be rich regardless of their punishment.

    Donald Sterling is “forced” to sell his team for a net profit of almost 2 billion dollars. Real “punishment”.

    Unless the players spend all their cash (ala Vince Young), they will still be more well to do than the rest of us. And so I say farce.

  13. How long have we been waiting to hear about Marshawn Lynch’s punishment? It seems like two years now.

  14. I think it is a good thing that the League hasn’t rushed into anything. To be honest it is probably worse for Irsay that he has to wait a bit. One’s imagination can be worse than reality at times. That said, Why mustn’t it create “a competitive disadvantage for the team”?

    If Irsay is to be treated more strictly than a player in this situation, Why must Goodell care if his team pays a price one way or the other? He owns the team and he screwed up so why shouldn’t his team pay a price in some way or fashion?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not insistent that any particular thing happen but it seems hurting the team would hurt Irsay an awful lot more than a million or so of his cash going to a charity of Rodger’s choice. So I’d prefer the league decide the right punishment (whatever that may be) regardless of how it impacts Irsay’s precious Colts.

  15. Not sure about all this. The players choose to be a union. This also isn’t some mid level manager, this it the owner. It’s his company.

  16. Owners’ standards should be different than employees. I may be horrible with people but that doesn’t give a receptionist or customer service person I hire at my company the right to lower their performance to my level. An owner often would not be able to get a job at his/her own company and that is fine.

    A league situation is a bit different in that an owner should be accountable to whatever the league agreement about owner conduct is.

    An owner has the right to demand a level of competence and excellence of his employees that he himself doesn’t possess. In fact, some quirks that make a good entrepreneur and owner are traits that would get an employee fired. That is not a bad thing.

  17. Let’s face it, it’s the American way. If a bottle capper on the Coke line gets a DWI, is connected to a drug addict who overdosed on drugs in a house he owned and was caught with controlled dangerous substances he would be in jail until his trial. If it is the president of Coke did the same thing then he would be sitting in the Bahamas waiting for his trial to be dismissed. The legal system has already made a sham of this by charging him with misdemeanors when the average guy would be facing multiple felony charges. It’s America, you can buy your way out of anything. To prove my point, watch how the NBA has to eat crow when the court systems tell them that they can’t punish Sterling the way they have. Money controls the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of our government. The only other branch is the one we are left sitting on because we are the have nots, not the haves.

  18. Roethlisberger was never even arrested. Anybody can accuse anybody of anything but suspending someone for six games (reduced to four) who has not even been arrested is not fair when arrested criminal owners are being given the benefit of due process.

  19. As a pro union guy, this is what gives unions a bad name. Goodell is waiting on him to be arraigned, where a court can legally determine what offenses he committed. There’s no sense in doing anything beforehand, and the NFLPA is acting childish.

    He’s doing the same thing with Ray Rice. He did the same thing with Marshawn Lynch. It wasn’t like Lynch got a DUI, and Goodell suspended him. After a year and a half, Lynch took a plea for reckless driving, and now he won’t face any action from the league for it.

    The NFLPA is trying to tie punishment of substance abuse issues in with legal matters, and they’re totally different issues. The rules for the substance abuse program are written in stone, and if you break them, you pay the price. Simple as that. Let the courts decide what he did, then punish him accordingly.

  20. In this case, a suspension makes no sense as that would have no ill affect on the team. He would simply be on vacation. Fine him according to the policies sited by the rules that govern the league. If Goodell deviates from the bylaws, it will create a witch hunting atmosphere which may have repercussions through out the league.

  21. I am all for Irsay being disciplined but what do people expect to happen here? Irsay doesn’t effect the product that is on the field. What are they going to do? Fine him a million and keep him from going to Colts games for a year? Big whoop… that’s like me getting a parking ticket and a LONG vacation from work. There is no way the NFL takes away from the team for this.

  22. It would be better for the NFL, Irsay, and Goddell to just get it over with…30 day suspension with no contact with the club whatsoever and a $500,000 fine…just be done with it…

  23. Suspending Irsay might actually help them on the field somehow. If hate playing for that guy. If I was Luck I’d have pulled an Eli on draft day.

  24. Rog says he’s waiting for all the facts? I’m no fan of Big Ben by any means but let’s look at a timeline for both cases.

    Big Ben accused on 3/8/2010 and suspended on 4/22/2010. With no charges filed against him.

    Irsay “arrested” on 3/17/2014 and suspended on …

    Maybe Rog has learned restraint over the years, but don’t tell us that he’s always handled these situations the same.

  25. “The personal conduct policy applies to commissioners, owners, players, coaches,” Goodell told reporters Friday, via the Associated Press. “It applies to all of us. We all have a responsibility to do things the right way. There are several players that we haven’t taken any action on, either.”

    Playing favorites?

  26. Once again, Goodell owns Smith. Goodell isn’t exactly a debating genius, either, so it really makes you wonder how bad of a negotiator Smith is…

  27. In other words

    “I won’t under any circumstances penalize one of the guys who pay me with anything more than a slap on the wrist, even though he was involved in far more serious crimes than the guys I’m suspending for a year for smoking weed”

  28. Yup, I would say he is right. He hasn’t taken any action yet on Aldon Smith for example or Ray Rice or Donovan Darius. I do believe Irsay will get a slap on the wrist, but what’s adequate punishment for an owner? Lose draft picks? Ban him for life? Force him to sell the team? I hate a lot of what Goodell does but personal conduct is more of an issue with players not the owners.

  29. Goodell is such a liar. The way he treated Big Ben was unconscionable. and completely inconsistent with the way he’s been dragging his feet with Irsay, who should have been suspended months ago.

  30. There were NO charges on other players and God-del acted much faster. He talks with out of both sides of his mouth. Charges were just done, give us all a break.

  31. D Smith is showing how to throw unfounded garbage out to the media and hope it helps his case. No two cases have been more high profile than Ray Rice and Aldon Smith and the league has yet to drop the hammer on either of those guys. Either Smith is a complete idiot or very desperate to look good to players who repeat the same idiotic ramblings about the owners being held to a high standard to the media every day. Why does the media even entertain these buffoonish arguments? It is like the emperor’s new clothes. A player rambles off some nonsense and the media falls all over itself talking about how articulate and aware he is. Meanwhile, it is just a bunch of ignorant babble. Players get paid to play. Just shut up and play.

  32. There is only one team and owner in the league that Roger Goodell will drop the hammer on and did in 2011, and that was the New Orleans Saints. A team that the whole nation thought should have been rolled out the league, and Roger Goodell didn’t take a long time to do that so the NFLPA seen the way Roger Goodell hurted the New Orleans Saints so what’s wrong with dropping the hammer on the Volts.

  33. I’m trying to remember Irsay’s offense. Was is that he abused drugs and alcohol in an addiction situation?

  34. Excellent. Keep putting pressure on Lord Goodell. I hope he cracks and decides to resign as commissioner and we can get back to the pete rozell Paul tagliubeau days. Good riddance and keep up the good work nflpa no surrender and finish Lord Goodell and erase that mistake from nfl history!

  35. So what were the “facts” involved in your suspension of Ben Roethlisberger when he was and remained uncharged with a crime?

  36. I’m not one to defend Goodell, but one must remember that in disciplining Irsay, he is meting out punishment to one of his 32 bosses, and the other 31 are watching closely, so you know….

  37. Irsay WILL be punished. Roger will probably suspend him for 4 games, fine him $250,000 and be put on probation for 1 year. You vigilantes have already hung him and Goodell. You have to go about this piece of business very carefully and deliberately. Roger is not dumb. He can’t do too much until the court appearance. Sure Irsay is getting off easy by the cops with a reduced plea opportunity which I suspect Irsay’s attorneys will advise him to accept. Then Goodell comes down with the hammer.

  38. Technically speaking couldn’t Goodell punish Green Bay everytime a Packers fan “stockholder” acts a fool?

  39. Did Ben ever say he didn’t assault that girl ? Did the girl file charges ? Did Ben or an associate pay her off ? You sayin Ben is an angel ?
    Now the facts, Ben never fought the suspension did he. He knew he did wrong. This was the 2nd accusation of sexual harrassment against him plus a bevy of other beefs folks had with Ben. Walking out of restaurants and clubs without paying. Go back and reread those articles. I’m not making stuff up here. Thank god he’s grown up.

  40. The owners love Goodell because he is focused totally on increasing their wealth. He runs the NFL like Mussolini ran Italy. He craves absolute power and doesn’t tolerate anybody questioning any of his decisions. He’s never made a mistake.
    Jim Irsay is an embarrassment to him but ultimately he will pay a fine and say he’s very sorry and Goodell will be comfortable with that.
    The game is crying out for a high character new commissioner. The NBA made a recent great appointment and the contrast with the NFL is stark.

  41. If the most powerful office in the world can be impeached (President) then why can’t a civilian be fined? Are owners above the law because of their net worth?

    You guys are hypocrites if you believe so.

  42. Why is De Smith and everyone crying about the timeliness of Irsay’s penalty. He WILL be punished; that’s a foregone conclussion. And the longer it takes, and the more public outcry there is, the worse it will be for Irsay, or so it would seem.

    This situation is more complicated because this is not a simple player, who is basically an “employee”, but an owner of a franchise, who is one of the “employers”. Owners have franchise agreements. Players have contracts. The NFL has to be careful they aren’t in violation of the franchise agreement when they do punish one of their owners. The owners get due process, even if some of its players (Roethlisberger) don’t.

    Like it or not, it IS a different set of rules the owners are playing with. It’s their league. They own it. But make no mistake. The NFL will punish Irsay.

  43. titansbro says:
    May 30, 2014 2:04 PM
    Suspending Irsay might actually help them on the field somehow. If hate playing for that guy. If I was Luck I’d have pulled an Eli on draft day.

    Says Titans fan…………….BWHAHAHAHAHA!
    Does the division basement have that musty smell?

  44. Irsay is not a first time offender. He voluntarily put himself through rehab before. This is his first time getting caught.

    When did we, as a society, say it’s okay to be an addict? They are not all victims. Irsay is not some long suffering lost soul we need to pity.

  45. The city of Indianapolis should be the one to “fine” Irsay. He’s the one who is the “steward” of literally hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money from Indiana.

  46. beartastic45 says:
    I hope he cracks and decides to resign as commissioner and we can get back to the pete rozell Paul tagliubeau days.
    You mean the days when steroids were the drug of choice by an unknown % of NFL players and the league looked the other way ?

  47. I’m a union officer at one of the country’s largest employers.

    We aren’t in the media like the NFL though… so i can’t speak from experience on that. I am on the workroom floor, in front of craft and management though.

    When you are in front of people or cameras, you don’t fire off shots at other people unless you like making life more difficult on yourself. De Maurice is well within his right to perceive Goodell however he wants. To make those statements at an improper time was foolish on his behalf.

    This is something most people begin to grasp at as a youth. Everyone is guilty of it at times as an adult. For a union president who is representing big money and big issues though, that was a sign of a major character flaw on De Maurice’s behalf.

  48. “If a player was arrested for DUI, had a lot of prescription pills that weren’t his and also had $29k in cash…that player would have been suspended already.”

    ah,that depends on what state he got arrested
    if it were Florida,they would have let him go
    minus the pills and 29k in cash
    so there would be no suspension

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