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Ryan Clark: Handling of Irsay shows hypocrisy of the NFL


At the NFL meetings in Atlanta this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he was holding off on any discipline for Colts owner Jim Irsay “until we have more information and more facts.”

Irsay was arrested on charges of vehicle while intoxicated and felony possession of a controlled substance earlier this year and spent some time in rehab before returning to work this week to play a role in Indianapolis’ unsuccessful bid for Super Bowl LII. In his frequent offseason role as an ESPN talking head, Redskins safety Ryan Clark criticized Goodell and the league for not acting to discipline Irsay already.

Clark pointed to Goodell’s decision to suspend Clark’s former Steelers teammate Ben Roethlisberger in 2010 when Roethlisberger was neither charged with a crime nor arrested after being accused of sexual assault. Clark said allowing Irsay to be part of this week’s meetings “shows the hypocrisy of the NFL and also Roger Goodell in the way that he deals with players and the way he deals for the people he works for.”

“So when has having enough information been what Roger Goodell waits for to make these decisions?” Clark said on “First Take.” “When does a charge necessarily warrant the penalty? We’ve seen in so many cases, Roger Goodell be judge and jury when it comes to players,” Clark said. “So here we have Jim Irsay, a guy, an owner, who has history of substance abuse, who’s found in a car with over $29K and prescription drugs that weren’t in his name, pulled over for driving under the influence, and now we’re saying we need more information? What more information do we need than these aren’t your prescription pills? You’re obviously under the influence. You have $29k. There would be no questions asked if this was a player.”

The longer the league takes to deal with the Irsay situation, the more people are likely to come around to Clark’s view that there’s a different standard for owners even though the league has said Irsay is eligible for discipline.