NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said that he holds coaches, administrators and owners to a higher standard than he does the league's players. And in case you've been terraforming on Mars these past eight years, Goodell doesn't mind bringing the hammer down when one of the players steps afoul of the law.
So what will happen to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay?
The 54-year-old owner worked during the NFL draft and attended this week's owners meetings after his March arrest for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and felony possession of a controlled substance.
Goodell was asked about possible discipline for Irsay, and his answer was brief.
“There have been no charges,” he said. “Until we have more information and more facts we will let it play out.”
This is an interesting approach. The league firmly and repeatedly has said it can discipline players without charges being filed, but Goodell clearly wants to see how serious the case is before he comes down on Irsay. And people who feel that Goodell is too closely aligned with the teams' owners most certainly will be watching to see how the commissioner handles things if any charges do come.
One NFL player already has called Goodell out for not penalizing Irsay. Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark, who has been a staunch and vocal union supporter, says Goodell not punishing Irsay is proof of "the hypocrisy of the NFL."
Clark said on ESPN's "First Take" as a guest analyst that Irsay never should have been able to attend the owners meetings without some kind of discipline handed down first.
"Right now, if Jim Irsay is going to represent this league, represent the Indianapolis Colts, going to be on TV at the owners meetings, trying to bring a Super Bowl to Indianapolis after what he's done? It shows the hypocrisy of the NFL and also Roger Goodell in the way that he deals with players and the way he deals for the people he works for," Clark said.
"He's always said, 'Well, I don't work for the owners.' That's not true. Because in the CBA negotiations, you were sitting with the owners."
Meanwhile, Irsay was said to be looking healthy and refreshed in Atlanta for the meetings. He joined the (ultimately unsuccessful) Indianapolis Super Bowl bid committee for 2018 and stopped briefly to talk to media, who asked about his condition.
"I haven't been in a coma or anything like that," he said on Monday, via USA Today. "I've been clued into everything that's been going on the last few months. It's good to be at this meeting and really try and focus on the Super Bowl bid. I'm not going to talk about any personal, medical issues. But I'm grateful to be back. ... And I certainly have a lot of appreciation I've received."
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