The six-game suspension for Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay ended after his team’s 33-28 victory over the Houston Texans.
Irsay’s NFL mandated suspension was imposed after a March 16 arrest in which Irsay was charged with four felonies involving driving while intoxicated and possessing controlled substances.
In September, Irsay pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and agreed to paying a $500,000 fine along with the suspension.
The 55-year-old admitted to Indianapolis Star reporter Bob Kravitz that he had alcohol and addiction-related problems, confessing, “It’s an ongoing thing in one’s life when recovering from any disease. The disease never sleeps so you have to be proactive when dealing with it. But the journey is great because it forced you to grow spiritually. There’s a lot of gratitude and spiritual growth. And it’s rewarding because it makes you more virtuous when you have success.”
Bleacher Report noted that Irsay’s suspension included a ban on his having any contact with the team or use of any social media in relation to the Colts. After his suspension was announced, Irsay apologized to Colts “fans everywhere” and to his “community” pledging that he would put all of this behind him and turn the unfortunate incident into a “positive event for myself, my family and the community.”
It might be considered a contradiction that Irsay is allowed to continue in his NFL role, while Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is banned from playing on Sundays until his ongoing child-abuse allegations are resolved. His trial is tentatively set for December. Peterson contends that he disciplined rather than abused his child.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2009 Irsay had vehemently opposed the possibility of Rush Limbaugh owning an NFL team after the talk-show host expressed interest in buying the St. Louis Rams. “I, myself, couldn’t even consider voting for him,” he said at an NFL owners meeting. “When there are comments that have been made that are inappropriate, incendiary and insensitive… our words do damage, and it’s something we don’t need.”
Five years later, Irsay’s strong words toward another man’s speech take on new meaning in light of his recent actions.