by Kent Sterling
As you evaluate Jim Irsay’s choice of getting behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated, remember that he is an addict. Addiction is a disease that Irsay has battled for long time, as did his father.
Driving while intoxicated can never be justified, but is especially stupid when you have the means an NFL owner like Irsay has. If I owned an NFL team, I would have a driver at the ready at all times, just because I could. Why drive whether intoxicated or not when you can employ a guy with a cool British accent and fancy name like Jeeves or Alfred can do it for you?
There have been rumors from inside the Colts for a long time that Irsay was using again, so this arrest is not much of a surprise, but it is very sad.
The arrest for OWI and possession of a controlled substance does not mean that he was drunk – it means that he was accused of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, which can mean that he was under the influence of another substance, and given his arrest for possession, we need details before we infer what transpired during the hours prior to Irsay’s arrest.
For those who have seen addiction up close, it’s always tough to watch a relapse. The battle for sobriety is difficult, and especially so for those for whom there are very limited consequences. The question of “why not?” creeps into the subconscious, and then the conscious. Before long, it’s back to the pills, needle, coke, or booze.
Shame is really the only disincentive that Irsay deals with. He can hire attorneys who will successfully litigate his case, and he holds a very safe position within his organization – owner. He sure as hell isn’t going to fire himself.
Sobriety a daily battle, and one that Irsay will try to win again today and then tomorrow. Right now, as he sits in the county lockup, he’s wondering what the hell happened. How could he have been this dumb?
There is little question Irsay will head back to rehab to develop another set of tools to successfully wage war against his demons, and hopefully those will allow him to live a quiet life of responsible decisions and reasonable behavior.
In the meantime, there is the very pragmatic reality of what consequence will be brought to bear by NFL Commissioner, who cannot look the other way as an owner crosses a line for which players are correctly held accountable.
The Colts could face a substantial fine or the loss of a draft pick. Colts fans hope that Irsay is allowed to write a giant check rather than lose one of only five draft picks general manager Ryan Grigson has at his disposal in the 2014 NFL Draft.
There will be time to discuss the effect this arrest has on the Colts. Today should be one for hope and prayer for a troubled man who has to re-equip himself with the psychological means and discipline to say no to himself every minute of every day.