NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has always stated he is about “protecting the shield”, and it has been in that stance that he’s sanctioned players for bad behavior, to the point of suspending players even though criminal charges had not been filed. Now, we have Jim Irsay. The Indianapolis Colts owner was arrested, then sent to rehab, and now he will not be charged by local prosecutors for having cash and drugs in his car. He will be charged with a misdemeanor for driving under the influence.
Now, the question remains, what will Roger Goodell do? Eric Winston, head of the NFLPA thinks Goodell should come down hard on Irsay to send a strong message:
“Owners own for decades,” Winston told TheMMQB.com‘s Peter King. “Players, if we’re lucky, might play for a decade. If protecting the shield is the most important thing, and owners are the ones most responsible for the league’s future, the owners have to be held to a higher standard. So I don’t understand how we can be talking about comparing the punishment of a player to what the league might do to an owner. Owners should be held to the highest of standards. And I can tell you, players are watching. A lot of players are watching. This has been on players’ minds for quite a while.”
If Goodell punishes Irsay like he typically does players, he’ll seem fair and a man who’s truly protecting the shield. If he doesn’t. many players will be bitter and Goodell will seem to be protecting the owners. The NFL did release a statement after Irsay’s charges were announced:
“The NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy applies to all league personnel and holds all of us accountable. We are reviewing the matter and will take appropriate action in accordance with the policy.”
Players, however, are skeptical. NFL Falcons receiver Roddy White tweeted:
“I’m guessing a million dollar fine will come which is nothing to a man that makes billions.”
I do agree that there’s been a double standard. Irsay was seen as a “troubled man” in mainstream media, not a criminal or a spoiled and entitled, like most players when they have similar troubles. Also, Goodell has been slow to issue punishment when again, in the past he’s punished players long before the legal system has run its course.
So all eyes are on Goodell to see if he will stay true in protecting the NFL shield or NFL owners.
What do you think?
Your Jersey Girlfriend,