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Colts owner Jim Irsay pleads guilty to OWI

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

When -- and to what extent -- will the NFL punish Jim Irsay? (USATSI)
When -- and to what extent -- will the NFL punish Jim Irsay? (USATSI)

Colts owner Jim Irsay pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to one misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in a case stemming from his March 16 arrest. Irsay also received one year's probation in which he will be tested for drugs.

He had previously pled not guilty to two counts of the offense. According to the Indianapolis Star, evidence showed that Irsay had the pain killers oxycodone and hydrocodone in his system at the time of his arrest. And according to police records, officers "continuously had to support Irsay in order to prevent him from falling over."

With a plea agreement reached, the league can now discipline Irsay. Media, players and fans will be watching closely to see how NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has a history of coming down hard on players who run afoul of league rules, punishes the owner.

"He is seeking help and he's done that voluntarily," Goodell said in March, a week after Irsay's arrest. "Obviously any policies or laws that are broken, whether they are commissioner, player or coach, those are subject to discipline."

In the days following Irsay's arrest, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White tweeted this:

And days later, former NFL offensive lineman Eric Winston told TheMMQB.com's Peter King, "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.”

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