Anthony "Booger" MacFarland played on half-a-season for the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, but his impact on that team was massive. Had then-team president Bill Polian not traded a second round pick to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the stout, interior defensive tackle, I don't think Indianapolis wins Super Bowl XLI. His professionalism, his work ethic, and his production were all vital elements in fixing a very weak, very porous interior defensive line.
During that time, MacFarland was a paid employee of Colts owner Jim Irsay. Today, MacFarland is doing radio work at 98.7 FM in Tampa (CBS) and Sirius/XM NFL Radio. Following Irsay's arrest on Sunday for driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, MacFarland tweeted that, if he were NFL Commissioner, he'd impose on Irsay a punishment that is rarely handed down for even the most egregious offenders of the league's personal conduct policy:
Id suspend Jim Irsay for a year w/no football contact whatsoever i think thats the only way you send a message to the players and the fans!!— Booger (@lsubooger) March 18, 2014
Yes, "Commissioner" MacFarland's suggestion is indeed laughable.
While it seems likely that the actual commissioner, Roger Goodell, will punish Irsay in the form of a suspension and/or fine, effectively banning a man from the team he owns for an entire year reads as incredibly harsh. Yes, Irsay's actions were disappointing, but so were the actions (or inaction) of Saints owner Tom Benson when he failed to address the bounty program conducted by his assistant coaches in New Orleans. Or Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose head coach was cheating by recording other teams' signals. Neither owner was suspended and both had a hand - either directly or indirectly - in conduct that undermined the integrity of the game.
The deeper truth to MacFarland's silly suggestion is that the players, both current and former, want Irsay harshly punished. They're looking for their "pound of flesh," so to speak. If Irsay isn't punished, many players will view the commissioner's handling of discipline as one-sided, with the players receiving harsher treatment for personal conduct penalty violations.
The truth is that some NFL players have effectively gotten off clean without harsh punishment for DUI and possession arrests.
Most recently, Aldon Smith of the 49ers was arrested for a DUI and marijuana possession in September of last year. He missed five games of the 2013 season while receiving treatment, but was not formerly suspended or fined even though this was Smith's second DUI arrest. The NFL is still evaluating whether or not they will discipline Smith, who has a court date for his second DUI arrest on April 11th. The league did say that Smith's decision to voluntarily enter rehab will factor into their judgement.
Like Smith, Irsay himself also voluntary entered a rehab/healthcare facility.
The closest example we have to a top-level NFL team person being suspended by the commissioner is Detroit Lions president Tom Lewland, who was suspended 30 days and fined $100,000 for his guilty plea to driving while impaired.
You'll notice how neither Lewland nor Smith were suspended for a whole year, and only Lewland was fined.
Thus, if Anthony MacFarland also thinks players like Smith should be suspended for an entire year for DUI arrests, it's probably a good thing he's doing radio and isn't the commissioner of the National Football League.