The Denver Broncos open their season this Sunday night at home against the Indianapolis Colts. The matchup pits two of last year’s playoff teams against each other, with another duel between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck looming large. Though Mile High will be packed for the game, at least one seat will be empty: a seat normally filled by Colts’ owner Jim Irsay.
After recently pleading guilty to a driving under the influence of drugs charge, Irsay was suspended by the NFL for the season’s first six games. He was also fined $500,000 by the league.
Irsay was arrested in Carmel, Indiana, near his home. He was driving with the painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system, according to a toxicology report. Initially charged with two counts of driving while intoxicated, he pleaded guilty to one charge.
As part of the plea agreement, Irsay received a year of probation and had his driver’s license revoked for a year. He also received a suspended 60-day jail sentence.
While on probation, he can’t drink or possess alcohol and he must undergo periodic drug testing.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league’s punishment was part of its efforts to hold owners, management and coaches “to a higher standard than players.”
If you look at all of the punishments Irsay faces, it might seem like a pretty long and harsh list. However, not all NFL players would agree. ESPN reported that some players said the league’s punishment was a “slap on the wrist” and that Irsay would essentially be “on vacation.”
Buffalo Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes pointed out that Broncos receiver Wes Welker will forfeit $1.8 million during his four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.
There’s little doubt that both Irsay and Welker will survive their punishments financially. For the average person convicted of DUI, however, the loss of driving privileges can by itself prevent some people from working. An experienced attorney can help them understand their legal options and pursue favorable outcomes.
Source: USA Today, “Colts’ Jim Irsay suspended six games, fined $500,000 by NFL after DUI plea,” Lindsay H. Jones, Sept. 2, 2014