NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not yet handed down discipline to Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was arrested and currently faces charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated. But there’s an expectation around the league that when Goodell does act, he’ll suspend Irsay for about half a season.
That’s the word from Adam Schefter of ESPN, who reported that people around the league believe Goodell will give Irsay a suspension of six to eight games and a fine of about $1 million.
We still don’t know what a suspension of an owner would constitute. Would Irsay just be prevented from attending games? Would he be banned from the team facility throughout the suspension? If he’s suspended during a meeting of NFL owners, would the Colts lose their vote? Would the Colts lose their share of the league’s TV revenues from those six to eight weeks, just as players who are suspended lose their salaries for those weeks? Losing half a season’s worth of revenue would be a whole lot more than a $1 million fine. A $1 million fine is a rounding error to a billionaire like Irsay.
Whatever Goodell decides, it’s sure to be hotly debated around the NFL. And if Goodell doesn’t come down hard on Irsay, he’s sure to face harsh criticism from the players who say he seems a lot more eager to punish players than owners.