Irsay arrest may bring NFL punishment, sharpen scrutiny on bowl bid

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The drug-related arrest of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay could bring repercussions from the National Football League and might play a factor in the city's bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.

Irsay was arrested near his home in Carmel late Sunday night and is being held on preliminary charges of possession of a controlled substance and driving while intoxicated.

Carmel police say Irsay was pulled over at 11:41 p.m. in the 13000 block of Horseferry Road for driving at a slow rate of speed, stopping in the roadway, and failing to signal a turn. Police said he failed several field-sobriety tests.

"During the inventory of Irsay’s vehicle, multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles," but the drugs didn't match the labels on the bottles, the police report said.

Irsay, 54, is being held on $22,500 bond in Hamilton County Jail in Noblesville and has a bond hearing set for 1:30 p.m.

The arrest puts Irsay in danger of discipline from the National Football League and could have an impact on the 2018 Super Bowl bid.

Indianapolis, Minneapolis and New Orleans will be giving presentations to the league’s 32 owners in May in Atlanta for the right to host the big game.

An NFL spokesman declined to speculate on whether the arrest would hurt Indianapolis' chances.

“The 32 teams vote for the Super Bowl host based on which site they believe puts forth the best bid,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an e-mail to IBJ.

But a source close to several team owners and NFL executives in New York said Irsay’s arrest “will definitely be fresh in league officials’ minds” when they receive written bids from the three cities April 1. League officials will work with the three cities to improve their initial bids before the owners get final written and oral bids in May.

The Indiana Sports Corp. is heading up the city’s bid.

“Jim Irsay has created one of the best franchises in the NFL. He and the franchise have made immeasurable contributions to the City of Indianapolis and State of Indiana,” Indiana Sports Corp. CEO Allison Melangton said in a prepared statement Monday morning. “We don't have any detailed information about the incident and it would not be appropriate to comment on this further.”

Melangton was CEO for Indianapolis’ 2012 Super Bowl Host Committee.

McCarthy said Irsay is subject to discipline due to his latest arrest, but declined to speculate on the punishment.

“Everyone associated with the NFL is subject to the personal conduct policy,” McCarthy said in the e-mail.

Irsay could be subject to discipline even if he's found not guilty.

“It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime,” the NFL’s conduct policy states. “Instead, as an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful.”

The NFL’s conduct policy also states: “Apart from any disciplinary action, persons arrested, charged or otherwise appearing to have engaged in conduct prohibited under this policy generally will be required to undergo a formal clinical evaluation. Based on the results of that evaluation, the person may be encouraged or required to participate in an education program, counseling or other treatment deemed appropriate by health professionals."

Other team executives have been disciplined for driving while intoxicated in recent years, including Detroit Lions President Tom Lewand.

Lewand was suspended 30 days and fined $100,000. The suspension later was reduced to 21 days.

Irsay has acknowledged problems with drug and alcohol use in the past, including an addiction to pain killers more than 10 years ago. However, he tweeted Oct. 21 that he hadn't had a drink in 15 years.

Irsay's wife, Meg, filed for divorce in November after a 33-year marriage.

Forbes magazine this month ranked Irsay as the 1,029th richest man in the world with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

"We are gathering information at this time regarding last night's incident involving Jim Irsay," the Colts said Monday in a prepared statement. "The team will issue additional statements when the facts are sorted and we are aware of the next steps to this process. Many fans have reached out to express their concern and we appreciate their support."



  • where is the compassion
    Wow, what hypocrisy and hatred for a man that is hurting personally that runs a business that wins by hiring quality players and coaches ( vs teams run by Belicheat et el), creates and employs hundreds of people, brings in millions of dollars for taxes and business, gives more to charity and pays more in taxes than all of you critics could earn in 10 lifetimes. Interesting to watch if the radical politically correct NFL will be intolerant to a person that has a disordered attraction.
  • Perhaps drug testing for team owners receiving millions of tax dollars??
    While that state legislature dropped the required welfare drug testing....we do give millions of tax dollars to our Indianapolis Colts billionaire. Perhaps a requirement to pass drug screening for corporate welfare is needed.
  • NFL Issues
    When the NFL is faced with a player associated with substance abuse, the team and the city are not punished due to the mistakes of the player. In this case, a team owner has a substance problem, or at least that is the issue gaining headline notice nationwide. I would encourage everyone to stop speculating and wait to receive more facts in this matter. If all is true, then the team and the NFL have a medical issue associated with one person, not the entire team, and clearly not the entire city.
  • Disagree with Nick
    Sorry, Nick, but I don't think this was some over-zealous cop who arrested Irsay. If you read the article, it sounds like they had good reason for stopping Jimmy: "...for driving at a slow rate of speed, stopping in the roadway, and failing to signal a turn. Police said he failed several field-sobriety tests. During the inventory of Irsay’s vehicle, multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles, but the drugs didn't match the labels on the bottles, the police report said." When was the last time you saw or heard this man speak and didn't think he was under the influence of something?
  • Obviously Filling the "hole" in his lack of any real skills
    Whether he is trying to suck up to Mellencamp by flying him in his helicopter, or buying Jack Kerouac Scrolls to bolster his supposed intellectual side or tweeting constantly like a 13 yr old girl to show his "blue collar" cred...Irsay obviously has a "hole" in his subconsious that he cannot satisfy. Drugs and alcohol will only numb the pain temporarily and he will never learn otherwise, even as the whole world watches him crash and burn. He is an embarrassment to Indy, the Colts, our players, and every fan. He has done nothing but take the team from his widowed mother, take handouts from us taxpayers, and take advantage of the less educated people on Twitter with his lies, half truths and misdirections. It appears his personal shortcomings may now harm Indy's chances of getting another SuperBowl. He should be ashamed of himself in has lack of self control, but if Jimmy is one thing, he's consistent...consistently narcissistic, consistently a liar, and consistently a man with such low self esteem that he's willing to risk his life and other's on the road just because he can't deal with the fact that he's never done anything in his life but take over from Daddy. You think I'm being hard on him? Trust me when I tell you that there will never be anyone harder on his lack of any skills than Jim Irsay...he knows he is way over his head and has been trying to find a way to drown those feelings his entire adult life from what his actions say.
  • Go easy
    Let's not jump to conclusions too soon, especially when talking about the keeper of one of our great fortunes. Had this happened in Marion County, I would presume he more likely guilty than not. Let's face it, IMPD focuses on real crime. While some Hamilton County Cops are great civil servants, whether it be Noblesville, Carmel, Westfield, or Fishers, some of them pull people over for driving. I have heard too many stories of overzealous cops trying to make felons out of j-walkers. Probably best to presume their suspects innocent until proven guilty. If he is, then he certainly has the means and support to get help. Given no one was hurt, he is going through a divorce, and the Colts did not win the Super Bowl (always depressing), I can understand if he fell back on hard times. I always wish him the best. Go Colts!
    • Get a Grip
      I am not here to defend Jim Irsay or his actions but no one has the right to judge. Until you have walked a mile in a mans shoes you have no idea what he is going through. Money has not brought this man the happiness he seeks and is only furthered his spiral into the abyss. I hope this serves as a wake up call for him and he gets the help he needs. He could also use some of that wealth to help others in the same situation.
    • No Sympathy From This Taxpayer
      Linda - You have it backwards. Indianapolis and the Colts recruiters have brought money and success to Irsay notwithstanding that his father dropped a good franchise in his lap. In addition, taxpayers (that is me and you) add to his fortunes by paying for Lucas Oil Stadium and giving the team a chunk of the revenues, particularly the concessions. A man with Irsay's wealth should have a full time driver; I think he can afford one.
    • Irsay Arrest
      This is all so sad. Mr. Irsay has an addition and needs an intervention with family and friends who love him. He has brought so much to Indy and those who are less fortunate. Please get help for yourself and your loved ones. The city needs kind hearted and generous leaders like you.
    • Drunk
      At no time in the last few years when I have seen this man does he appear sober. He is really stupid if he thinks we all believe him when he says he is not drinking!! Thank God he did not hit and/or kill anyone - keep him and those like him off the roads!!
    • Illness
      Drug addiction is an illness one that is suffered by many people on each rung of the social ladder--I would agree with the person that said as long as he knows he has this problem he might employ a driver to make sure he and other people get to their destition with as little chance for death or injury as possible. I hope this is a wake up call and he gets the help it is clear that he needs.
    • Wait
      Why doesn't IBJ just wait and see what happens and then report it rather than wildly speculate on what might happen?
    • 2 controlled Substances
      In addition to Drugs, he uses OUR TAX money. Nice to know we are helping an addict get his fixes.
    • Look at that picture-the eyes
      Those are the eyes of a drunk or drugged person. He lies when he says he has gone all those years without either.
    • Sad excuse. . .
      He's not the only person in Indiana with substance abuse challenges and he is not (nor did I expect him to be) a 'role model' for anybody. But for the 1029th richest man in the world to risk the lives of other people by driving impaired when he can easily afford a full time driver is unforgivable and tells you exactly what a self-centered excuse for being a responsible adult he really is. I'm sure personal injury attorneys would love a wrongful death action against a billionaire, but avoiding a tragic road accident is better for everyone.

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