NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended six games and fined $500,000 by the NFL after he pleaded guilty to one OWI misdemeanor charge.
The 55-year-old Irsay was accused of driving while intoxicated in March 2014 and driving with a Schedule I or II controlled substance in his body. While he pleaded guilty to the first charge in the Hamilton County courtroom Tuesday, the latter charge was dismissed, RTV6's Julie Pursley reported.
In lieu of jail, Irsay will be on probation for one year. The judge suspended his driver's license because he refused a sobriety test during the traffic stop. He will also have to pay a fine of $368.50 in court costs and fees.
NFL Commissioner Robert Goodell said that Irsay's guilty plea violated the league's Personal Conduct Policy. He is not allowed to attend games, practices, meetings, team or league events, and he's not allowed to conduct interviews or engage in NFL-related social media. Irsay will be allowed to attend season games beginning on Oct. 9, 2014.
"I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players," Goodell said.
Irsay issued a statement following the NFL's decision:
"I acknowledge the mistake I made last March and stand responsible for the consequences of that mistake, for which I sincerely apologize to our community and to Colts fans everywhere. Even more importantly, though, I am committed to do everything in my power to turn this whole experience into a positive event for myself, my family, and the community. In retrospect, I now know that the incident opened my eyes to issues in my life that needed addressing and helped put me on the path to regain my health. I truly hope and pray that my episode will help in some small measure to diminish the stigma surrounding our country’s terrible and deadly problem of addiction. It is a disease like other progressive, terminal diseases—one that can only be successfully treated by understanding, committed hard work, and spiritual growth. I am deeply grateful for the tremendous outpouring of love and support during these past few months from my family, friends, care-givers, and our great community. Please know I am firmly committed to staying on my path to good health and I look forward to a great season."
On March 17, Carmel Police said Irsay was spotted driving slowly, stopping in the roadway and failing to use a turn signal. Officers said he had trouble reciting the alphabet and failed field sobriety tests. Various prescription drugs were found in his vehicle.
Irsay has been in rehab and treatment since March 24. The court will have access to the treatment records, which is ongoing.
Court officials said Irsay could face possible jail time if he violates the terms of his probation.
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