Ex-Colt Jerry Hughes calls Irsay discipline “slap on the wrist”


The six-game suspension and $500,000 fine to Colts owner Jim Irsay for impaired driving doesn’t sit well with a player who once received paychecks signed by Irsay.

Jerry Hughes, a 2010 first-round pick of the Colts who now plays for the Bills, said he doesn’t think Irsay’s punishment has any teeth.

“It’s kind of like a slap on the wrist,” Hughes told ESPN. “But it is what it is. It’s the business. . . . I’ll just let the numbers speak for themselves. I mean, he’s a billionaire, so I’m pretty sure [$500,000] won’t hurt too badly.”

Hughes is right: Losing $500,000 would bankrupt the average American and would be a lot of money even to a millionaire NFL player, but to a billionaire like Irsay, it’s nothing. Irsay was born into a rich family, inherited a billion-dollar business from his father, and openly talks about how he carries around tens of thousands of dollars in cash so he can do things like pass out $100 bills as he strolls through the crowd at Colts training camp practices. Irsay sending a check for $500,000 to the league office is like the rest of us dropping some change in a tip jar.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has pointed out that under league rules, he’s not allowed to fine Irsay more than $500,000. And who do you think made those rules? The NFL’s owners. If Goodell really wants to get tough on owners who break the law, he should push for a change in the rules that would allow him to fine owners the kind of money that would really matter to them. But don’t expect Goodell to take on his bosses that directly.

Short of a Donald Sterling situation, where an owner is forced out of the league entirely, there will probably never be a time when a commissioner gives an owner a financial penalty that really hurts. NFL owners have 10-figure net worths, and they’ve rigged the system so the commissioner can never give them anything more than a six-figure fine.

49 responses to “Ex-Colt Jerry Hughes calls Irsay discipline “slap on the wrist”

  1. Aren’t the fines to the owner a collectively bargained agreement? The players union could have made the penalty to the owners greater but they chose not to.

  2. Irsay owns the business. He was fined because the other owners he is in association with are unhappy that his actions brought shame to the NFL Shield (for lack of a better word). The players collectively bargained as employees for their fines and suspensions. The boss (owners) can do whatever the hell they want with their partners

  3. As a lifelong Bills fan I urge Hughes to shut his mouth. 500 K is too big a fine for anyone, billionaire or not. He made you ou rich while you were a washout Hughes. Its HIS money, no one’s else. That’s what made us a great nation, and why we’re now crumbling. Hope you’re as open minded by the massive fine you deserve for racing Dareus in a highly traveled area, much more dangerous than what Irsay did. Just shut up and play.

  4. Of course Goodell works for the owners…Just like you work for the owner of your company… Are we losing the concept of private ownership/enterprise? Sounding kinda socialist to me but… comes as no surprise…..its how society is being conditioned…its working, sadly.

  5. The punishment should fit the crime….not the pocketbook. If he were a player, then he would have gotten a slap on the write for a first offense. This is pretty stiff.

  6. And Jerry Hughes would be correct…guys who have done way less have been suspended for entire seasons and fined heavily. This guy gets 6 games and a half million in fines. That’s chump change to him. KO your wife = 2 games and 3 checks. Smoke a little weed=whole season lost. I’d say that the NFL’s justice system is badly broken.

  7. Jerry Hughes was by far the biggest bust of the Polian era while with the Colts.

    Not a single Colts fan could care less what he has to say. I’m actually a little surprised he’s still in the league.

  8. dethsupport says:
    Sep 4, 2014 6:45 PM
    Hughes needs to focus on his play rather than take shots at the team that drafted him. Where he subsequently busted


    I didn’t know you’re a bust if you get 10 sacks in a season?

  9. Too severe a punishment. Players get 0 games for same violation. A lot of or most players are role models to kids. Not many owners are role models to kids. Most kids don’t even know who the owners are. If they want to up the fines they need to negotiate that but the 6 games is too much.

  10. It feels like people would complain if Goodell wanted a pound of flesh simple because Irsay has 174lbs more.

  11. By choosing to fine Irsay as an individual, it lets Goodell hide behind the $500,000 maximum. He easily could’ve fined the Colts FRANCHISE an amount much greater than that, which would then be shouldered by Irsay.

    Goodell is a mealy-mouthed wuss

  12. 500k may be the maximum fine but there are no guidelines for suspensions.. that is totally up to Goodell. So Sean Payton gets an entire year suspension for “not knowing” what his DC was up to and Irsay gets 6 games for DUI. Sounds fair to me! The only reason Irsay is not in jail for Vehicular Manslaughter is because no-one was unfortunate enough to drive across his path. And he gets 6 games. Yay boy..

  13. Instead of $500,000 cash, make him give up one of his guitars, maybe auction one off for charity? An addiction related charity would be appropriate.

    For those who may not know, Irsay is a well known collector of vintage guitars, including Jerry Garcia’s “Tiger” guitar. He employs a full time curator for his collection. Giving up a guitar is going to make more of an impression on him than having an accountant issue a check.

    (As a guitar collector myself, I can assure you that this would be a pretty severe punishment.)

  14. All this reeks too much of class envy.

    A fine should be a fine period, not adjusted to match one’s worth like our corrupt tax system is.

  15. I guarantee that if an owner came out and said a player’s punishment was just a slap on the wrist everyone saying that Hughes needs to keep his mouth shut would be agreeing with the owner that said the same thing. Amazing how some people on here seem to be against the players at all costs.

    And to all the Colts fans that say he’s a bust: 10 sacks last year for the Bills and that was playing about 50% of the snaps. Did he just magically learn how to play or did the Colts just not have a clue how to use him? I’ll go with the latter.

  16. One of the many problems with prescription medication abuse is that it also effects people with legitimate needs for the medication. It makes it harder for people with real medical issues to get the medication and then if they do have a legitimate prescription they are often instantly labeled as “addicts” because of people like Irsay. This is why this type of drug abuse should be put into a much higher category of punishment than marijuana use. Marijuana is currently making the transition to a legal recreational drug in the US much like alcohol and tobacco. The pills Irsay was popping were no different than if he were shooting heroin directly into his vein then getting behind the wheel. He would have been a safer driver if he were as drunk as Josh Brent.

  17. In Irsay’s last interview before the ban, he lamented that he should have recognized his addiction problem earlier. And I quote: “Man drafting that guy Gary Hughes in the first round… what was I thinking? That was a clear sign my head was messed up and I should have– What? It’s Jerry Hughes? Eh, whatever…..”

  18. I did not hear His outrage over ray rice, guess I just missed that! Slow news day when a story is made of the comments of a bust- oh wait he anchors the defense at duffalow! I will not sleep tonite.

  19. “Hughes was a bust and still is today.”

    Anything and everything that guy ever has to say about football should be taken with a grain of salt. Completely clueless.

    Jerry Hughes is right…he’s an owner, make an example of him like you would a player.

    It’s a bunch of bush-league garbage.

  20. This guy ego is HUGE , I hate the Colts and Irsays , but this is a BIG embarrassment to him. That’s what you really want. The fine isn’t the big deal. But not being allowed to go to games. That’s what hurts for him and is the embarrassment to fans, players and other owners

  21. It was a big enough fine. Irsay is worth around 1.5 Billion…. But that is net worth including all assets. He needs to pay 500k out of cash flow. It isn’t nothing. I think it was a fair punishment.

  22. I sure did not hear any players complain about Ray Rice and his punishment.I heard someone say just yesterday that this was silly,when you get pulled over by the police they don’t ask for a W-2 to see how much you make before they give you a ticket.I am a Browns fan and anyone comparing Josh Gordons punishment to his is completely wrong.Josh Gordon is on his 3rd time just in the NFL not counting his many problems in college as well.The punishment for players was bargained for if they don’t like it change it next time around.Lets not even get into to the fact that the players still have not approved HGH testing even though it was bargained for and should have started already.If they are so unhappy all of them should just walk out we can never have the NFL again since they are so worried about their health.Its time to take some responsibility for your own actions.Common sense would tell you that this sport is not good for any part of your body but yet they keep on playing then blame someone else for all the injuries they have.

  23. You Colts fans bashing Hughes need to pay a little better attention to what happens outside of Indiana.

    He was actually very, very good last season. 10 sacks and he also led the NFL in pass rush productivity (hits/hurries/sacks per pass rush).

  24. Do Bills fans taking a shot at the Colts fans realize that they all thought Marshawn Lynch was a bust? Have fun with EJ Manuel and your zero headed monster at RB!! Go Toronto Bills!!

  25. Jerry Hughes is the one who should be fined. Better yet, he should be doing time for stealing Jim Irsay’s money – How about giving back some of that money you didn’t earn in Indy, Jerry… Hypocrite!

  26. $500,000 out of pocket is a lot of money to anyone. Coupled with a six game suspension, mandatory treatment and untold embarrassment? Hefty enough to send the message. If Hughes really thinks the punishment is insufficient, how about suggesting to the commissioner that Irsay be forced to act as owner of the Bills for those six games and manage the front office/head coach mess?

  27. The fine is nothing, the punishment of six games is killer for Irsay.
    People forget how much he loves this team and being at games. He doesnt miss games, the six game suspension will hurt this guy more than money ever could.

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