Sep 16, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and general manager Ryan Grigson stand on the sidelines before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Minnesota 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Does the NFL have a double standard with Jim Irsay?

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It’s been months since Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was arrested for driving erratically in the middle of the night in Indy. He’s now been formally charged and it’s been said that all of the players are looking towards Roger Goodell to see what kind of punishment he will subject Jim Irsay to under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Without anything being done yet players have already complained that the league is hypocritical when it comes to Irsay compared to how they’ve dealt with players who have gotten into trouble with the law.

Is there really a double standard, or does it just appear that way?

Jim Irsay, through the help of some obviously well-paid lawyers, was formally charged with the misdemeanors of operating a vehicle while intoxicated and operating a vehicle with a controlled substance in the body.

The “substance” in this case being painkillers.

The night of his arrest he was pulled over for driving erratically. He refused a field sobriety test but was eventually determined to be intoxicated. He was found with multiple prescription bottles of medication that was not prescribed to him, and $29,000 in cash.

Irsay immediately entered into a substance-abuse rehab program and the league has held back from any kind of punishment, “waiting for the legal system to run its course”.

What is confusing is where some NFL players are claiming that the league is handling Irsay any differently than they would any other player who had their first DUI arrest.

According to, there were players suspended for a total of 163 games last season with fines amounting to $7,534,895.00. None of them were suspended for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.

The most common offense? Substance abuse, which falls under a different policy under the CBA.

These are players who tested positive for substances, not PEDS, which are illegal in the NFL. The other most common offense was PED use.

According to Pro Football Talk’s Police Blotter, 13 NFL players were arrested between Super Bowl 47 and Super Bowl 48 for just DUI alone, not taking into account any public intoxication or drug possession arrests. Thirteen players arrested and not a single one suspended by Roger Goodell for violating the personal conduct policy.

Take into account the 49ers’ linebacker Aldon Smith, who will find out just before training camp opens if he will serve jail time for six separate charges ranging from possessing an illegal assault weapon to DUI charges. His DUI charges violates the league’s substance-abuse policy but the games he missed were voluntarily because he entered into a rehab facility when he was arrested mid-season for another DUI.

Smith still has faced zero punishment from Roger Goodell.

Where’s the double standard at?

Roger Goodell made a name for himself for being a tough disciplinarian when he handed down suspensions to players like Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. He fought hard during the lockout to preserve his right to hold the ultimate authority on the discipline involving the personal conduct policy.

Since the lockout, however, Goodell’s main suspensions have been the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal and suspensions for violating the league’s safety program.

There have been some ridiculous suspensions like Terrelle Pryor’s five-game suspension for his involvement in the Ohio State scandal, but other than that the suspensions for offseason arrests are few and far between.

No double standard here, just an inconsistent and bad standard for Roger Goodell and the NFL.

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Tags: Jim Irsay NFL NFL Personal Conduct Policy Roger Goodell

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