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NFL suspends Jim Irsay 6 games, fines him $500,000

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

That didn't take long. Hours after Colts owner Jim Irsay pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the NFL levied its punishment: Irsay has been suspended for the Colts' first six regular-season games. He's also been fined $500,000 for violating the league's personal conduct policy, the NFL announced in a statement.

Irsay can return following the Colts' game against the Texans on Oct. 9.

According to the terms of the suspension imposed by commissioner Roger Goodell, which takes effect at 5 p.m. ET Wednesday, 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.

Yep, that's right, Irsay can't be on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, MyFace, YourFace, InstaFace or any other social media.

In a letter to Irsay, Goodell said, “I have stated on numerous occasions that owners, management personnel and coaches must be held to a higher standard than players. We discussed this during our meeting and you expressed your support for that view, volunteering that owners should be held to the highest standard.”

Irsay was arrested March 16. Evidence later showed that he had painkillers 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."

Irsay issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the punishment was announced.

"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.

"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."

Jim Irsay's punishment begins Wednesday, Sept. 3. (USATSI)
Jim Irsay's punishment begins Wednesday, Sept. 3. (USATSI)

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