Jim Irsay on 2014 Arrest: 'Targeted for Being a Rich, White Billionaire'



by FAIZAN CHAUDHARY

Jim Irsay on 2014 Arrest: 'Targeted for Being a Rich, White Billionaire'
© Andy Lyons/GettyImages

In a recent HBO interview, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay made a striking claim regarding his 2014 arrest for driving under the influence. Irsay, who later pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, suggested that his arrest was influenced by his status as a "rich, White billionaire." Speaking with Andrea Kremer on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel," the 64-year-old expressed his belief that his wealth and position played a key role in the legal action taken against him.

Irsay's net worth, estimated at $4.3 billion by Forbes, has positioned him as a prominent figure in the sports world. He stated, "If I'm just the average guy down the block, they’re not pulling me in, of course not." This comment reflects his perspective that his significant wealth and public profile may have made him a target.

2014 Arrest Details

The incident in question occurred on March 16, 2014, in Carmel, Indiana. Irsay was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance. At the time, police reported discovering prescription drugs in pill bottles in his vehicle, with the medications not linked to any prescription bottles found on the scene.

Evidence presented in court indicated that Irsay had oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system. Further details from the probable cause affidavit revealed Irsay's impaired condition during the arrest, including slurred speech, unsteady balance, and difficulty with field sobriety tests.

In response to Irsay's recent statements, Lt. DJ Schoeff of the Carmel Police expressed disappointment, emphasizing the professionalism and integrity of the department. CNN reached out to both the Colts and the Carmel Police department for additional comments but has yet to receive a response.

Following the arrest, Irsay faced repercussions from the NFL, including a six-game suspension and a $500,000 fine for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He also voluntarily entered a rehabilitation facility, acknowledging his struggles with addiction.

When questioned about the public's perception of his claims of being prejudiced against, Irsay remained defiant, insisting on the truth of his statements. He attributed his failure in the sobriety test to a hip problem post-surgery and claimed his guilty plea was a means to expedite the legal process.

This controversy has sparked considerable online debate, with figures like ESPN's Stephen A. Smith criticizing Irsay's claims as "ridiculous" and indicative of being out of touch with reality. In response to the backlash, Irsay defended himself on social media, denying the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs at the time of his arrest.

His ownership of the Colts since 1997 has seen him as a central figure in the NFL, and his recent comments have only intensified the scrutiny he faces in the public eye.

Colts