Colts owner Jim Irsay was suspended six games and fined the maximum allowed under the NFL constitution after he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanour count of Operating While Intoxicated in his scheduled court appearance in Noblesville, Ind., Tuesday.
"I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players," commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to Irsay in a letter quoted in the league release announcing the suspension and $500,000 fine. "We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard."
The NFL-mandated suspension takes effect Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
"Mr. Irsay may not be present at the club's facility, may not attend any practices or games, may not represent the club at league or league committee meetings or at any other team or league event, and may not conduct media interviews or engage in social media regarding any team or league matters," the NFL said in a release.
Under terms of a one-year court probation agreement, Irsay cannot drink for one year and must provide prescriptions for all medications. According to court records, oxycodone and hydrcodone and a large sum of cash was discovered in Irsay's car when he was arrested in March.
He will be tested for drugs during probation. Irsay could face up to five years in prison if he violates probation.
"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," Irsay said in a statement.
"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."
Irsay was also charged with possession of a controlled substance, but that charge was dismissed.
Irsay will be eligible to return to the team following the Colts' game against the Houston Texans on Oct. 9.