The Jim Irsay story moved quickly today, and we not only got resolution from the courts, we got resolution from the NFL. This morning, Irsay appeared in Hamilton County court for the hearing of his change of plea deal, and he pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of operating while intoxicated. The other count was dismissed. Irsay was given a one-year probation and is subject to random drug testing.
Shortly after that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed out his verdict, and he came down hard (but fair) on the Colts owner, suspending him six-games and fining him $500,000 - the maximum amount possible.
Irsay released a statement this afternoon, and in it he finally did what many Colts fans have been waiting for: he apologized. It made sense why he didn't before, as it was still a pending legal case. But he said this afternoon what needed to be said, and he apologized to Indianapolis and the Colts fans. He said that he's committed to making this a positive experience and staying on the current (good) road that he's on. Here's Irsay's complete statement:
"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."